Two Cuban Communities under Lockdown

Government sources said that meetings are currently being held to isolate other neighborhoods in the Cuban capital.

By IPS-Cuba

The El Carmelo neighborhood in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood, has been under lockdown since April 3rd.  Photo: Taken from acn.cu

HAVANA TIMES – Empty streets are what you see in this Havana neighborhood, which just 15 days ago had hundreds of people visiting the Fabrica de Arte Cubano cultural center at night, while others walked through the park with the famous statue of British musician John Lennon.

This is the El Carmelo People’s Council, in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood, which has been under total lockdown since April 3rd, and will remain so for the next 15 days, to help contain the new Coronavirus and stop it from spreading.

“Everything was unusually quiet, the only thing you could hear were some dogs barking and the steps of people who were walking through to make sure that locals were complying with social isolation measures,” a neighbor in the area told IPS, who had left to go to work until the day confinement began.

El Carmelo

In Havana, where 72 of the 288 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported until April 3rd, the Provincial Defense Council decided to lockdown this neighborhood, because many people here had been infected with Coronavirus as they had been in contact with foreigners and Cubans who came from abroad.

“This isn’t a quarantine, but we are stepping up isolation measures in the El Carmelo People’s Council,” the president of the Defense Council, Luis Antonio Torres, said about the area where eight cases of COVID-19 had been reported.

“My 37-year-old son hasn’t been able to leave the house or go to work since Saturday, he is sad and depressed. We have never experienced anything like a quarantine before,” Carmen Soria shared, who is one of the 27,000 people who live in this area that spans 1.32 km.

Measures adopted include locals having to stay at home, with the exception of key workers.

Not being able to leave the People’s Council via any of the neighborhood’s six entrances, which are being controlled, the government has taken action to guarantee basic services such as food, meals, drinking water, waste collection, banks and ATMs.

Public transport in the area will continue to run, so extra efforts are being made to disinfect bus stops, it was announced.

Anyone not living here shouldn’t enter, except in the case of absolute necessity. If at any time letters of safe-passage had been considered, they have been ruled out for now, although a total quarantine hasn’t been dismissed if the number of cases increases, government officials have reported.

Camilo Cienfuegos Community

Approximately 1,400 people live in some 13 apartment blocks in the Camilo Camilo Cienfuegos community, in the Consolacion del Sur municipality, in Pinar del Rio province.

The other community under lockdown because of COVID-19 is located in the Consolacion del Sur municipality, in the western province of Pinar del Rio.  Photo: Taken from YouTube.

It was there that the second community transmission chain of Coronavirus was reported on March 30th, after the first one had been identified in Matanzas.

Some 190 people who had been in contact with the first five COVID-19 positive cases in this region, are now being held in quarantine at two centers that have been equipped for this end. The first cases are connected to a Cuban couple who returned to the country on March 8th, from Cancun, Mexico.

In this town, where a 13-year-old boy also tested positive for Coronavirus, a total of 48 contacts have been detected, mostly children, who have been put into quarantine and are being accompanied by one of their parents.

Containment measures have been implemented in the community since March 31st, including reducing the circulation of people and transport, staircases in apartment blocks being regularly disinfected and cleaning streets with disinfectant.

“Things are rough in my municipality, but we are looking after ourselves,” a local from the town of Consolacion del Sur wrote in a WhatsApp message, who knows the first person to be reported with the virus in the area.

Rafael Prieto Lopez, director of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Consolacion, told local press that every positive case and home in quarantine is being closely monitored, and tests are being done on working Cuban travelers in the area.

The Municipal Defense Council announced that active research is being reinforced, there are two medical clinics and a doctor’s office to monitor cases around the clock, and the availability of medicines for chronic diseases was also being figured out.

With the community in lockdown, a personal hygiene basket is being distributed to every family, which retail workers leave on building staircases, to prevent crowds.

Meanwhile, local sources have reported that food deliveries are being reinforced to vulnerable people; the local canteen is making meals, which are then announced on a loudspeaker so locals can go and collect them, and the sale of long-lasting vegetables are being sold at the agro-market.


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