The government has decided to reinforce and extend measures directed at containing a new COVID-19 outbreak.
HAVANA TIMES – A municipality in the western Artemisa province has had to go back from stage three to stage one of the recovery process, because of a spike in cases. Hotspots in 10 out of Havana’s 15 municipalities and reduced transport routes between western provinces because of risks involved, reveal that Cuba no longer has COVID-19 under control.
During a meeting of the temporary task force set up to prevent and control COVID-19, Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel pointed out the night before that the upward trend of cases in the past two weeks marks a relapse of progress made in May, June and the first two weeks of July.
With 25 new cases confirmed by the end of August 4th – 13 in Artemisa, 10 in Havana, 1 in Cienfuegos and another in Guantanamo, the country has recorded a total of 2726 cases, 257 of which were diagnosed in the past 12 days, according to the Public Health Ministry’s daily briefings.
[The August 6 report issued today showed 54 new cases, 43 of those in the different Havana municipalities, and the other 11 cases in Artemisa, Matanzas and Villa Clara provinces.]
The president warned that if this situation – concentrated in the Artemisa, Havana and Mayabeque provinces – wasn’t brought under control, it wouldn’t only compromise people’s health and lives, but also the beginning of the school year, scheduled for September, as well as economic recovery.
Every time there is an outbreak, more people are admitted into hospital, more people are held at different isolation centers, more money is spent on healthcare and every time a people’s council, community or municipality is put into lockdown, it costs a lot for the country, which is suffering an economic relapse due to the pandemic and is trying to deal with this aftershock.
“We will continue to put our people’s health first,” the president stated, who called for discipline and responsible action of both the population and institutions, to raise risk awareness, increase the quality of contact tracing, increase more rigorous controls, ensuring the immediate isolation of cases, people they have been in contact with and any possible chain of transmission, without any sloppy business.
Meanwhile, he stressed the fact that “we can’t lack the capacity to decide to put an area that begins to become problematic or display abnormal behavior, into immediate lockdown.”
Havana and Artemisa
According to government announcements, the Bauta municipality, in Artemisa, which has reported 90 new COVID-19 positive cases since July 21st, also reporting 13 people testing positive on August 4th, went from stage three of the recovery process back to phase one.
There have also been reports that there is a third case of local transmission in this province, at the Building and Assembly Company in the Mariel Special Development Zone, where another 10 positives cases were just confirmed.
According to the weekly digital newspaper Tribuna de la Habana, the Cuban capital has 15 hotspots or cases in 10 out of its 15 municipalities and daily infection rates higher than what was forecast. As a result, it is practically “on the brink of another outbreak, which negatively coincides with national results.”
The article states that during a meeting of the National Defense Council, deputy prime minister Roberto Morales included the geographic connections in the capital between its neighborhoods and municipalities and the great movement of its inhabitants as the cause for this upturn in cases, which increase the risk of infection and spread the disease.
Faced with this situation, he made a call to health services to treat anyone who goes into a health center as a suspected case of COVID-19 and to act following established protocol and without any sloppy business, which has compromised the pandemic’s containment.
In a video conference call, the city mayor, Reynaldo Garcia, announced that measures will be stepped up to prevent more cases and the spread of the disease, and that he would suggest to the national task force to reinforce some of the restrictions imposed during the national lockdown, while also calling for civic responsibility.
On the other hand, it came to light that the Ministry of Transport is working on a plan to reduce the circulation of vehicles in between Havana, Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Mayabeque and Matanzas, which will be presented shortly for implementation.