No Public Transport and Renewed Restrictions for Havana

The capital currently has 176 active cases of COVID-19 and is enforcing social distancing measures again, even putting the beach town of Guanabo back in lockdown.

By IPS-Cuba

According to Havana’s governor, if measures are violated then sanctions will be imposed. Photo: Jorge Luis Banos / IPS

HAVANA TIMES – With a new COVID-19 outbreak in the past three weeks, this capital has relapsed into the limited community transmission phase, with restrictive measures for its over 2.1 million inhabitants and even public transport being shut down from August 10th onwards.

The COVID-19 prevention and control task force, led by president Miguel Diaz-Canel, approved the Provincial Defense Committee’s proposal to return to the previous phase of recovery, so as to contain the pandemic, which the health authorities say has resulted in 2888 infections and 88 fatalities nationwide, since March 11th.


Guanabo in lockdown

The Guanabo community, in Havana’s Playas del Este, is back into lockdown as of the evening on August 8th, after cases were detected and replicated in other Havana municipalities.

According to government announcements, entering and leaving the town is limited, with 31 control points, from Bacuranao to Point Zero.

Since it is a popular beach area, in the middle of the summer, the government has warned about the danger of people trying to enter the 10 blocks closed off in the Emperador neighborhood to rent.

In the capital alone, 1595 positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported, 55.22% of the pandemic in Cuba.

For weeks now, health authorities have warned about the spike in infection rates, both in Havana and the Artemisa province, which they say are the result of negligence, social indiscipline and safety protocol violations, by both institutions and the general population.

These include parties or other activities where people come together, people with breathing difficulties at workplaces, masks being worn incorrectly and not respecting physical distancing guidelines.

Hardest hit by the pandemic, Havana had entered the first phase of the first stage of the recovery process on July 3rd, when active cases were still being reported although the city had met requirements for recovery, according to the government.

Ever since then, many people spoke out an opinion that’s now gaining weight: lifting restrictions in the capital and restarting public transport services were hasty.

The measures announced apply to everyone and every sector, responding to two objectives: protecting people’s health and life and also to prevent economic activity from coming to a standstill, during a trying time for the domestic economy and international uncertainty.

On the TV show Mesa Redonda, Havana’s governor stressed that if measures are violated, then sanctions will be imposed, in line with the law.

Health

– Increase testing of health professionals and certain groups in the community.

– Lab research with swab tests for at-risk groups and in higher-risk places, social institutions and the elderly living alone, as well as other vulnerable groups in 12 municipalities at high or very high-risk.

– Reorganize human resources in the tracing suspected cases.

– Incorporate health activists to reach at-risk groups and their qualitative assessment.

– Reinforce the role of state-led health controls and the clinical method with a epidemiological  focus.

Tourism

– Tourism bookings will continue outside Havana, requiring that everybody is checked, the presenting of swab test results administered within 48 hours before arrival and the tourist signs a Customer Declaration about their state of health.

– Day-trips, excursions and other tourism activities have been suspended, with customers being refunded or booking for another time.

– Beach house accommodation for rent has been suspended.

– Bars, night clubs, restaurants and swimming pools have been closed down.

– A part of the tourism bus fleet will be used to support worker transport.

Transport

– Starting Monday August 10th onwards, public transport will be paralyzed, so transport for people who are still actively working needs to be ensured.

– All private sector licenses linked to the sector (private drivers, driving teachers, trip and car park managers) are suspended, as is freight from people outside Havana.

– 39 mini-bus routes have been suspended.

– Passenger controls at 12 points in the city, checking people coming in and going out of the city.

– Masks are compulsory, as is disinfecting your hands and vehicles.

– Railway links to the beach have been suspended.

– Buses used to transport workers will not allow passengers to be standing.

– Interprovincial transport is still suspended (buses, railway and planes).

– Car technical checks and driving schools will be suspended.

– Agencies selling interprovincial tickets have been closed.

– Authorization documents are still needed for the circulation of state-owned vehicles.

Work

– Expand remote work to other sectors, as only 19% of workers are currently working from home.

– Reposition workers who have been laid off to jobs near their homes, in pharmacy delivery services or the social food distribution system.

– Confirming a wage regime for people who can’t work remotely because of their health condition, and who need to stay at home because they form part of a vulnerable group.

– Suspend private hairdressing, barbers’, gym and spa services.

– Keep private workers’ applications for suspending activity valid, regardless of deadlines.

The measures announced apply to everyone and every sector, responding to two objectives: protecting people’s health and life and also to prevent economic activity from coming to a standstill, during a trying time for the domestic economy and international uncertainty.  Photo: Jorge Luis Banos/IPS

Domestic Trade

– Services inside restaurants, cafes and bars are suspended, which will only be able to sell take-out food until 8 PM.

– Alcoholic beverages will not be sold for consumption in any food establishments.

– Sales areas for self-employed workers will close down.

– Ensure mobile product sales for health professionals who are fighting COVID-19 and isolated communities.

– Prioritize the sale of agro-market produce at markets and retail points.

– Catering services that are allowed to work 24 hours are only for funeral homes and hospitals.

– Contracts between private businesses the State’s Mercabal wholesale market are suspended.

Agriculture

– Keep businesses, cooperatives, mini industries, farm produce retail points and hand-rolled tobacco and mechanized cigarette factories running, ensuring they comply with health and physical distancing guidelines.

Education

– Children’s homes will still be open, even though they won’t be able to go on trips as part of their summer activity program.

– Daycare centers will be open and others can open too, depending on the needs of working mothers.

– Preparations for the beginning of the academic year will continue, as will teacher training and security officer shifts to protect resources at schools.

Internal Security

– Reinforce police presence at beaches, swimming pools, social centers, parks and zoos, as well as other recreational spaces.

– Control of mass transport bans, monitoring control points and other points with surrounding provinces.

– Continue operations against resellers and hoarders.


2 thoughts on “No Public Transport and Renewed Restrictions for Havana

  • Jose Marti airport shut down and flights due to commence in September cancelled!

  • With Guanabo shut down, it won’t be possible to go to Bim Bom’s for spagetti.

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