HAVANA TIMES – With 431 new cases of covid-19 on Sunday and five deceased in two days, Cuba reached its highest epidemic figures. If they cannot be contained with the measures adopted, a regression to the limited autochthonous transmission phase will occur.
[The figure on Monday was 487 new cases and 550 on Tuesday, with 5 more deaths in those two days. The community transmission phase is now the case in Havana.]
This phase is declared for confirmed cases without a clear link with travelers from affected areas. They are limited to small conglomerates in localities or institutions of the country.
According to Francisco Durán, Head of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health, at the end of January 10, 5,715 patients were admitted to hospitals. Out of them, 2,802 were confirmed, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic, last March.
Primary health care physicians estimate increases in the coming days that could top 500 patients a day. The country had accumulated a total of 15,007 people diagnosed with the disease since March 11, 2020.
Statistics show that 11,187 of infections (74.9% of the total) have their contagious source in the contacts of confirmed cases. However, 3,518 people diagnosed in the country (23.4%) have a source of infection abroad.
On a covid-19 daily press conference, Durán emphasized that 5,658 of diagnosed cases (76.7 percent) since November 15, are linked to international travelers. He also added the violation of quarantine protocols at home by travelers and cohabitants.
To try and stop the spread
Cuba’s plan for Covid-19 recovery comprises phases I, II, III – each with its restrictions – and the new normality phase. To move from one phase to another the incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days and the PCR tests compliance percentage, carried out as an indicator of the active case search process, are considered. Health authorities adopted restrictive measures since January 8 in the different Cuban provinces. They correspond to the complexity of their epidemiological situation. The government warned that if the epidemic is not contained, new and more severe restrictions would be adopted.
Back to the past
After more than 160 days without COVID-19 cases, the province of Guantánamo has the highest incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants: 66.51. Due to this, since January 11, all private and state public transportation and school attendance was suspended. The measure included the 82 schools in Guantánamo and Niceto Perez, both in limited local transmission phase.
Other restrictions include the suspension of booking of interprovincial trips and the closure of bus terminals and train stations. Likewise, suspension of office procedures related to transportation and the limitation of passengers in private cars. New measures include the cessation of transport between 9 PM and 5 AM. Additionally, suspension of public, recreational and cultural activities (theaters, cinemas, bars, discos and swimming pools, among others). Increased promotion of remote work. The above are some measures in force in Havana where a record number of 126 cases was registered in one day.
The government of Havana has decided that in addition to the fines, ranging between 2,000-3,000 pesos, criminal proceedings would be initiated.
Other previously announced measures include the limitation of flights from countries reporting higher levels of infected passengers, especially the United States. Also, the requirement of a negative PCR certificate from an accredited laboratory, carried out in less than 72 hours before the trip.
As usual, the digital publications forums and social networks immediately echoed the measures taken to contain the transmission.
While some consider them adequate and even think they should have been taken before, others demand stricter measures. For example, in Cubadebate the Internet user Ander Barrenetxea considered that the school year should be stopped throughout the country. However, Jazmin claims not to stop it in Havana, but to exert control where sanitary measures are not complied with.
[On Wednesday the government announced a suspension of the school year in 34 municipalities including the 15 in the capital.]
Other criteria refer to the continuous breach of discipline by travelers and their cohabitants. They “escape through the patios and go out to spread coronavirus.”