HAVANA TIMES – Cuba in grinding to a halt like many other countries. As of Saturday April 11, both urban and rural public transport will be suspended, to try and curb the expansion of the coronavirus on the island, announced Transportation Minister Eduardo Rodríguez on Thursday, reported Europa Press.
The exception to the prohibition is the worker transportation for those who provide “vital” services and emergencies, such as the transfer of people to health facilities. On those vehicles social distancing is an obligation.
The licenses of private taxis have also been suspended, forcing them to stay home but freeing them from paying taxes. Likewise, the circulation of passengers in cargo transportation, common on rural highways, is now prohibited.
With less stores selling basic food and hygiene products outside the limited quantities at ration stores it remains to be seen what the situation of long lines will be at those that still do when available.
On the other hand, the Minister of Internal Commerce of Cuba, Betsy Diaz, reported that large shopping centers will be closed as of Friday. However, she said some government stores will begin to sell products with online sales, something the vast majority of Cubans have no access to.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel said the decisions that are being taken in the country are not intended to “bother anyone”, but are carried out “to save lives.” “Although it hurts, we have to make sacrifices; being at home, not visiting family or friends,” he said during the coronavirus situation update meeting.
Díaz-Canel has warned that Covid-19 cases in Cuba “are increasing and will continue to do so.” “The success we have in detection and reduction depends a lot on how the prevention measures are carried out,” he added.
“The pandemic has still not manifested itself in its greatest magnitude. This can’t be solved only with repression, with measures, with fines. It is solved with understanding and with a responsible and civilized way of acting,” he added.
The Cuban authorities informed on Thursday a total of 515 confirmed cases of coronavirus – 58 new ones in the preceding 24-hours – and 15 deaths. Also, they said 28 people have recovered from the disease.