By Pedro Pablo Morejon
HAVANA TIMES – The COVID-19 pandemic has already taken tens of thousands of lives worldwide. For weeks now, most Cubans have been clamoring for the government to close the border and to implement protection measures to mitigate the future effects of this virus.
In the meantime, the Government has continued to play the safe tourism and excellent national Health system cards. It even took the luxury of sending a contingent of doctors to other parts of the world to fight the disease.
I’m not against human solidarity (such as the controversial case of the British cruise ship that docked in Havana) or love for thy neighbor, but I don’t understand these strategic political acts that are disguised as humanism, when the Cuban people lack medicine, sanitary and hygiene conditions are awful and the almighty and divine State can’t even guarantee masks for its citizens.
I wrote on my Facebook page that this attitude of having kept the border open to foreign tourists, and the likely catastrophic consequences this would have, has a name in criminal law theory: gross negligence, not wanting a damaging outcome, but still doing the same thing, even when it knows that this will most likely end up leading to a disaster.
I wondered whether this pro-foreign currency behavior was because of the fear of a social explosion if the economic situation worsened, if resources further diminished.
However, it seems that the risk-benefit ratio weighed more in favor of this than the likelihood of thousands of lives being lost because of a careless policy, as well as a collosal disgrace in the international community’s eyes, with unexpected political consequences. I don’t want to touch on anyone’s nerves, much less be accused of being paranoid or malicious, but I have seen so many vile acts that it’s hard for these thoughts not to pass through my suspicious mind.
However, good sense finally won out. The Cuban government has adopted a series of measures. The most important include prohibiting foreign tourists from entering the country, although cargo ships are still allowed in, complying with certain safety regulations. Cuban citizens returning from abroad must stay in self-isolation for 14 days, upon entering the country.
Schools have been closed down until April 20, and will only reopen if the epidemiological conditions allow for this. Collective transport, both public and private, between the provinces has also been suspended. Measures have been taken to prevent crowds, as far as I know, night clubs and gyms have closed down, and measures have been taken to prevent commotion in crowds for basic products.
In regard to the latter, police presence across the country will be reinforced so as to control these situations, making sure that people remain at least a meter away from each other in these infamous lines.
The possibility of selling products sold until now on the non-regulated market as part of the rations booklet is also being analyzed. This is an extraordinary situation. I agree with these measures regardless of the inconvenience it may cause us, because these are the measures that tend to prevent the new Coronavirus from spreading, with its terrible effects that we are very familiar with now.
Let’s hope the COVID-19 outbreak comes to a halt in the coming days, which will be decisive. As I’m writing this, there are now 119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 here on the island up to March 28th. Measures being implemented today needed to have been taken a long time ago. I just hope it’s not too late.