Pinar del Rio and the Covid-19 Surge

Consolacion del Sur in lockdown and Puerta de Golpe on “standby”

By Pedro Pablo Morejón

HAVANA TIMES – Ever since it was announced that Pinar del Rio was in the limited community transmission phase, the number of COVID-19 cases already stands at over 400. Consolacion del Sur appears to be the hardest hit, accounting for over 100 cases in the past 15 days, according to daily reports published in Guerrillero magazine, the province’s official press.

In late October, the municipality’s Defense Council declared a lockdown for residents living in the provincial capital, blocking entry roads; yet, the number of new COVID-19 cases doesn’t seem to be grinding to a halt, making the epidemiological situation worse in the area.

They also announced that they would administer PCR tests for all residents, approximately 20,000, which still hasn’t been done yet.

Add to this the strict restrictions on freedom of movement and residents have found their social lives turned upside down, as they are only allowed to go out and look for the food they need. In simpler terms, they are going hungry.

Even greater shortages of food

Quarantine zone.

I have spoken to people living in Consolacion over the phone, and they complain about shortages, that have only got worse with this pandemic. Some people, who rear pigs or other animals, have been forcced to sacrifice them ahead of time in order to get by in these trying times. Others, i.e. the majority, haven’t been so lucky.

A few days ago, I was walking along the highway, near the entrance on 51st street, and watched how some people tried to send food to their relatives.

This is how tough our reality is right now, and if it weren’t for geographical details, I would think that we were living under the Nazi siege of St. Petersberg during almost three years of World War 2.

Making matters worse, Puerta de Golpe – the town where I live – located 8 kms away from Consolacion del Sur, has reported its first case, which was recorded as “imported”. It was a man from here, who had been living in Havana for a few months, but he had been in contact with lots of people recently, which has frightened everyone, in a place where not a single case had been reported ever since all this madness began.

Several people have done a PCR test, but the results haven’t been given back yet, which is something that is happening with every suspected case in the province, leading to great uncertainty.

Word has it that if 5 cases are confirmed, the town will also go into lockdown. All we can do is wait and see.

Read more here of Pedro Pablo Morejón diary.

2 thoughts on “Pinar del Rio and the Covid-19 Surge

  • My heart goes out to the people of Pinar as I have many friends there. For some months I’ve sent some $ to feed a friend there. There was little freedom before. Now even less. I wonder if this latest nonsense will be enough for the people of Cuba to rise up and demand freedom.

  • Pedro, not only are your COVID-19 cases on the rise in the province where you live, and to add insult to injury, the citizens in your province must also deal with a shortage of basic necessities such as a severe shortage of food. This unfortunate unintended combination is tragic and disastrous.

    Not only is your Cuban province experiencing a rising case of COVID-19 cases here in Canada the situation is moving in the wrong direction also. Pandemic cases have risen significantly in many Canadian provinces. For example, in the province of Ontario the daily case numbers for yesterday (November 12/‘20) was 1,573. That case number is projected to reach roughly 6,000 per day by mid December as reported by Ontario medical authorities. That is a significant alarm.

    Moreover, the province of Quebec is also projecting a huge spike in COVID-19 numbers such that the Premier is considering closing schools in December and having students stay in school during the summer months. One other province has its cities in towns in a virtual lockdown mode. And, we all thought just a few months ago that things would improve!! Even our Prime Minister a few weeks back with his optimistic and hopeful demeanor felt all Canadians would be having a Very Merry Christmas!

    Well, here we are today, the COVID-19 situation, unfortunately, is not improving whether one lives in Cuba or in Canada.

    In no way can one compare the amount of inconvenience, if that is the proper word to use, the pandemic restrictions are causing the citizenry in each country named. Yes, it is a mere inconvenience for Canadians comparable to Cubans when the community has to close down recreational facilities, close down restaurants, cancel hockey tournaments, and ask people to wear face masks and keep a social distance.

    One can only empathize with the plight of many Cubans who are forced to wait in endless lines under the hot sun hoping to purchase basic necessities all in very short supply. It is a pretty drastic and dire situation when Cubans are trying to help their relatives by sending them food but the food does not reach its intended destination, or can even be sent, because of government restrictions.

    It is grave when Pedro has to compare the Cuban COVID-19 situation in Pinar del Rio to “… living under the Nazi siege of St. Petersberg during almost three years of World War 2.” With that image in mind, there are no further words to impart to demonstrate the seriousness of the COVID-19 surge situation in Cuba.

    Pedro ends his article with a wait and see attitude. I think that is all we can do whether one lives in Cuba or Canada, but it is much, much, more onerous for Cubans to have to wait and see on empty stomachs.

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