Cuban dons full-body cardboard shield against coronavirus

HAVANA, June 17th  (Reuters)   Ever since the novel coronavirus reached Cuba, a tall cardboard box with arms and legs can be seen tottering around a Havana suburb, popping into the bakery or butchers, or browsing the newspaper stand.

This is Feridia Rojas, 82, who decided to build and wear mobile housing to shield herself from the virus that is particularly deadly to seniors in a country where personal protective equipment is not sold at stores.Cuban dons full-body cardboard shield against coronavirus

“I am at home, what about you?” reads a message on her box, in a witty nod to Cuba’s coronavirus slogan “Stay at home.”

The widower, whose daughters both live in the United States, said that with no one to run her errands she had to find a way to do so safely by herself, illustrating the resourcefulness and humour for which Cubans are renowned.

“I was worried about the asymptomatic cases who could cough just as I passed,” she said. “So I thought: I’ll do a little house with a cardboard box and wear it.”

Cuban dons full-body cardboard shield against coronavirus

Retired nurse Feridia Rojas, 82, wears cardboard shaped into a house to protect herself from the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Havana, Cuba, June 11, 2020. “I am at home. And you?” Picture taken on June 11, 2020. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

The retired Cuban nurse salvaged the box from the pharmacy in her Palatino neighbourhood and cut armholes and a window for her face that she covered in clear plastic.

On top, she glued cake boxes to make it look more like a house with a roof than a flat-topped apartment building.

“She’s very creative,” chuckled her neighbour Zayda Echemendia, adding that Rojas still helped locals with injections at home and the like.

While her mobile home may be less necessary as Cuba’s outbreak appears to have come under control, Rojas said it still provided necessary comic relief.

“In the midst of this pandemic, this stress and anxiety all the time, my little home make people laugh,” she said.Cuban dons full-body cardboard shield against coronavirus