Health Authorities Confirm Seventh Case of COVID-19 in Cuba

On national television Dr. Francisco Durán reported two new cases of COVID-19 in Cuba for a total of 7 positive cases. (Isla de la Juventud Health)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, March 17, 2020 — Health authorities confirmed this Tuesday the seventh case that has tested positive for coronavirus in Cuba, as reported on the Roundtable TV show by Dr. Francisco Durán, national director of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Public Health.

“In that last 24 hours, there have been added two new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 7 positive cases of the virus,” warned the official, but without offering more details for the moment. Almost all of the contagions have in common that “they were via a contact” with someone infected arriving from abroad, he specified.

Durán justified the measures taken by the Cuban Government that do not at this time include the closing of the borders nor the suspension of classes in schools. “Quarantine is not justified in a general manner. Maybe at another time,” he explained. In place of that, “anyone arriving from the nine countries that we consider at risk with any respiratory symptom, is isolated in a health unit.”

“We cannot say that transmission exists. That will occur when we begin to find people with presence of the virus, with or without symptoms, who have not had any relation with one of the infected patients who arrived from abroad or with links to them,” added the doctor.

In face of the criticism that has grown in recent days over the delay in suspending classes, Durán insisted that “when there is no evident transmission and you close schools, it creates an extra tension and diminishes the immunological capacity. Cuba is attentive and it has been made public that a group of activities with large concentrations have been suspended.”

On Monday the fifth positive case of coronavirus was reported, in a Cuban citizen living in Havana who had recently returned from a trip in Galicia, Spain.

Regarding the first three cases of Italian tourists confirmed in the country, the Ministry specified that one of them, a 61-year-old whose state worsened on Sunday, is currently reported in a “critical” state and with artificial ventilation.

For their part, local media in Matanza stated that in the province there have been 46 suspected cases of coronavirus reported. Of those 24 are foreigners and 22 Cubans. “After carrying out the appropriate tests to detect the presence of COVID-19, 19 people have had negative results,” detailed a report.

All of the suspected cases are in isolation, specifies the note. “The foreigners are at the Hotel Club Karey, Kawama, Varadero equipped for this possibility. For their part, the Cubans are under observation at the Mario Muñoz Military Hospital in the city.”

On the Roundtable show, the Director of the Central Unit of Medical Cooperation, Jorge Delgado Bustillo, assured that up to this point no Cuban worker abroad has been infected with COVID-19. The Island has 28,760 doctors and specialists abroad and in 34 countries where the disease is present there are 25,900 medical personnel working.

Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera


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