14ymedio, Havana, 24 March 2020 — The Cuban Government has announced a series of measures through which it intends to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which already affects 40 people, with more than a thousand in quarantine in hospitals. On Tuesday more measures will be detailed, but these are the main standards contained in the Prevention and Control Plan approved by the authorities.
Lines will be controlled, keeping the agreed distance of at least one yard between people. Businesses must strive for separation and disorder must be avoided. Food and home delivery services are encouraged. The authorities have pledged to intensify food production and raw materials that are now not going to be used for other purposes will be frozen and destined for circulation to retail merchants. However, it is not explained what measures the Government is going to take to increase the supply of products.
The school year is suspended for three weeks (until April 20 in principle) and a staggered return to the classroom will be organized whenever that becomes possible. From March 30 teaching activities will be broadcast on television. Teachers must continue preparing classwork for the time of return and those engaged in master’s and doctorates will advance their research. Postgraduate and undergraduate activities are also suspended and the non-contact rule is applied.
Cuban students boarding at schools will return home and leave the residences open for foreign students.
Daycare centers will continue to function for those who choose to do so, although epidemiological surveillance standards will apply. New sign ups and adjustment periods will be postponed.
Entertainment venues that are closed include discotheques, swimming pools and gyms, both private and state, along with sports facilities.
Excursions of all kinds are suspended: historical, cultural and natural, and recreational activities in hotels are limited, which also applies to the non-state sector.
In hotels there will be strict surveillance of workers and tourists; the latter will not be able to rent cars. Leisure activities in these places will be limited, such as bars and restaurants where, as a minimum, the safety distance between customers must be kept. In case of non-compliance, the facility will be closed.
Travelers arriving in Cuba should be immediately informed of the situation, they will be taken to isolation centers in buses selected and controlled by the Police. The ships, premises and luggage will be disinfected upon arrival.
Family will not be allowed to greet travelers and passengers, upon return, can only carry one suitcase and one piece of hand luggage to lighten crowds at the terminal and isolation centers.
All Cubans are “regulated” — that is, forbidden to travel. Travel will be allowed only for humanitarian reasons or other major reasons. It is also not possible to circulate within the country, with all state and private interprovincial transportation suspended, and urban transport will be reorganized, but the form is still being studied.
External consultations, where possible, will be rescheduled and the clinics in the communities will be interconnected. All non-urgent surgical interventions are suspended and those linked to cancer, transplants and emergencies that compromise the patient’s life are maintained.
Certificates for obtaining medicines and medical diets are extended for six months.
QUARANTINE AND EPIDEMIOLOGICAL SURVEILLANCE
Cubans must complete a period of isolation of 14 days in authorized centers upon arrival on the island. If their return had already taken place before this Monday, they will remain in home isolation and must inform the authorities to continue their evolution and control, as well as that of their families.
Tourists who are still in Cuba are in quarantine and cannot leave their hotels. Those who were in a rental house will go to the tourist centers. It is not possible to circulate through isolated areas: one may not enter, exit, nor transit through them.
Police control will be reinforced in the streets and other centers defined by the authorities. Mass organizations* and the local government will also coordinate visits to monitor those who are isolated at home under medical surveillance, which will be reinforced.
Those with symptoms of coronavirus should go to designated centers or remain at home with health supervision.
Children without families will remain in the homes of their usual residence. The elderly in state centers, as well as those who live alone and homeless people will receive special attention.
LABOR SITUATION AND TAXES
Any worker can be temporarily relocated. Women with children in primary or special education will receive 100% of their salary the first month and 60% from the second month.
Formal and face-to-face procedures at tax offices are postponed, as are tax obligations at bank branches, although they can be carried out with Transfermóvil or other electronic payment systems.
Monthly taxes on self-employment activities where the activity levels are affected are not temporarily suspended, but reductions will be applied.
*Translator’s note: “Mass organization” is a term applied to government-run groups such as the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the Federation of Cuban Woman, the local Communist Party organizations, student groups and others.
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