The Resurgence of the Coronavirus Frightens Cuban Authorities

The lines at the shops aren’t helping to contain the expansion of Covid-19 throughout the Island. (14ymedio)

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14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, July 31, 2020 – The resurgence of the coronavirus has frightened the Cuban authorities, who have decided to apply new measures that affect Havana and Artemisa, places with a concentration of new cases.

This Friday, the figure for confirmed cases (11) is higher than that of yesterday (9), but it shows a descent with respect to the worrisome data of the preceding days, when 33 cases were reported. It remains to be seen if the data are timely or confirm a tendency to spike provoked by the last infections. Of the 50 local transmission events that have happened in Cuba since March, six continue to be active and are concentrated in certain provinces.

Two of them happened in Bauta after the celebration of a religious festival, and another four in the capital, in the municipalities of Centro Habana, Cerro and La Lisa. This last, according to what was known on Thursday, was the most recent resurgence, which affected 11 people.

Local authorities in Havana have warned that there are municipalities with very high risk in the capital; among those are La Lisa, La Habana del Este, Centro Habana, Marianao, Diez de Octubre and Cerro. Arroyo Naranjo, San Miguel del Padrón, Playa, Plaza de la Revolución, Regla and Cotorro are considered high risk, and La Habana Vieja, Boyeros and Guanabacoa remain medium risk.

In order to stop the transmission, the plan proposes that Havana consider forming groups of health workers or students to intensify surveys, in addition to increasing testing according to the risk in each zone. Besides municipalities, there are businesses and areas considered high risk, such as beaches, transport, swimming pools and restaurants, where there should be more testing.

Havana continues relying on homeopathy as a prevention method and will keep giving the product PrevengHo-Vir to the vulnerable population and to those already in quarantine through contact or return to the Island. Also, Nasalferon (a type of interferon), will be sent to workers like health personnel and drivers, who come into contact with widespread populations, sick or healthy.

What the authorities most insist upon is the need to educate the population, which, they maintain, has lost the perception of risk. In the Cuban capital, after ordering phase 1 on July 3, there’s been a relaxation of prevention measures plus a large number of people in the streets. The long and many-times crowded lines to buy basic products also make any strategy to contain the virus more complex.

Health officials have noted the lack of social discipline as a cause for the present outbreaks, and they point to private parties, family reunions and inconsistent use of a mask as the main problems. However, they avoid mentioning the crowds on public transport and the lines to buy food as two high-risk scenarios.

In Artemisa in the last 15 days, the rate of incidence has grown enormously and is situated at 12.24%; on Monday it was 6.41%. The governor of the province says that he’s trying to control it by complying with the ordered quarantine. There are 14 isolation centers in the province with more than 700 places, which now house the contacts of everyone infected in Bauta.

The Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal Miranda, gave a figure 153 patients with Covid-19 in Cuba, of which 152 are in stable condition, while the figures on deaths have remained steady for two weeks.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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