By Pedro Pablo Morejón
HAVANA TIMES – Pinar is in flames, as they say. Just two weeks after the “new normal” was announced, the province has reported over 200 cases to date, in a new outbreak. There have been cases in every municipality, but the most severely-hit are Consolacion del Sur, Guane and the provincial capital.
Pinar city has areas in lockdown, Consolacion has been cut off via every access road from the Central Highway to the Havana-Pinar highway, the same has happened in Guane, mainly in the town of Isabel Rubio (formerly known as Mendoza) – which I wrote about in an article a few months ago. It has been hit the hardest in this region.
The province hadn’t had so many cases since the pandemic began seven months ago. In fact, Pinar del Rio experienced long periods without reporting any cases during this time. Numbers were always low, and therefore people are asking themselves how things got so badly out of control.
A few days ago, the government announced a regression to the limited community transmission phase, taking appropriate measures, including:
Suspending public and private passenger transport.
This means that so-called “remote work” is being implemented again, as most people who work don’t have their own means to move about and there are very few work centers that have transport available for their workers. People will go out only because they need to.
In the city of Pinar del Rio, they must walk long distances because there are no buses, horse-drawn carts or the well-known bicitaxis.
The 2020-2021 academic year is suspended. University entrance exams are being postponed. The beginning of the present academic year for primary and high school has also been pushed back, which was scheduled to begin in November before the new outbreak in the province.
Food establishments will only be able to serve for take-away.
This is really a joke in a province where trying to find something to fill your stomach became a pitched battle a while back. Long and frustrating lines are a daily habit for locals who fight like animals for their daily bread.
Rice, meat, coffee, just to mention three products, are now luxury items. As I’m sure they are in the rest of Cuba. More of the same old that nobody is surprised or frightened by.
Add to this the new closure of the border to Artemisa and still having to wear a mask in public.
Will we ever leave this pandemic behind us? I’m sure we will, although it’s worrying that people suspected of having COVID-19 are no longer being isolated. A PCR test is administered, and they have to wait at home for their results. This presents much risk of infection for family members.
As soon as the situation is back under control, Pinar will open up again and the rest of the country will continue with an outbreak here and another there, until an efficient vaccine manages to eradicate the disease worldwide. We still can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. So, we have no other choice but to survive another day.