Coronavirus in Cuba: public transport stopped, department stores closed

HAVANA, April 10 (AFP) “We are going to completely stop all public transport services in the country, state or not”, which includes coaches and taxis, Transport Minister Eduardo announced on Thursday on public television Rodríguez.

Cuba is currently at the stage of limited indigenous transmission of the disease and maintains only six areas of the country in quarantine. However, the authorities are asking the population to adopt social distancing behaviour.
“Too much people”

Health Minister José Portal recently warned that the epidemic could escalate, as elsewhere in the world, and that more prevention was needed. Despite the call to stay at home and the restriction since Saturday of freedom of movement to only “workers providing vital services” and to the transport of goods, there are “trips and too many people in public transport“, observed the Minister of Transport.

For her part, the Minister of Internal Trade, Betsy Díaz, announced the closure from Friday of “the sale in department stores” of Havana to “avoid large gatherings” which facilitate contagion.
Long queues

Cuba imports the majority of its foodstuffs and often experiences shortages due to both the trade embargo imposed by the United States, the lack of liquidity and the delays in transforming an economic system to the Soviet one.

The sale of highly requested products, such as chicken and hygiene products, creates long queues. “Only small establishments will continue to offer essential products”, explained Ms. Diaz.

Small shops will be set up by the municipalities “to sell food, toiletries and hygiene products” and sales tours will also be organized. The sale of alcoholic beverages will be prohibited in food stores which will have to reserve their departments for food.