Havana lives under the siege of the new coronavirus

HAVANA, Feb. 23th In recent weeks, Havana has become the epicenter of the contagion of the new Coronavirus in Cuba,

where authorities are fighting a third outbreak of the COVID-19 which started in January.

In the city, where just over two of the 11.2 million Cubans live, a dozen « epidemiological events » are active, as places with a high incidence of spread are called here.

This Monday, the city reported 412 cases in a day and 1,297 patients admitted to hospitals, in addition to a rate of 301.5 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest in the country.

At various points in the Cuban capital, there are areas closed to traffic and with access controlled by doctors and police to try to avoid further contagion from the detection of positive cases.

Official data indicate that nine of the 15 Havana municipalities are on the list of the 12 Cuban territories that collectively accumulate 41 percent of the cases diagnosed in the country in the last two weeks.

« In Havana, unlike other provinces, we can have workers from the 15 municipalities of the province in a center, which makes the situation more complex, » Havana’s governor, Reinaldo Zapata, said on national television.

Based on this situation, the early initiation of treatment protocols for high-risk suspects and the beginning of the procedure for the COVID-19 as soon as they reach the isolation centers.

Several educational institutions in Havana, such as the University of Computer Sciences, when teaching is suspended, are now used as isolation centers for people suspected of contagion.

Since the beginning of this month, the Havana government decreed a series of sanitary restrictions that include a curfew from 9:00 p.m. local time until 5:00 a.m. local time the next day, the suspension of classes, and the imposition of heavy fines for those who violate epidemiological control measures.

« Many people do not have a perception of risk and that is why they fail to comply with what the government of the capital has established, » said Silvia Cuartas, a 61-year-old woman who is an employee of a ministry.

Cuartas, like many Cubans, claimed to have pinned their hopes on « some of the vaccines that our scientists are developing and that is being tested here in the city. »

Two vaccine candidates, Soberana-01 and Soberana-02, both prepared by the Finlay Vaccine Institute, in Havana, star in the part of their clinical trials in Havana health centers.

Two other candidates, Abdala and Mambisa, prepared by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, also in Havana, similarly go through different phases of clinical trials.

The Caribbean nation, where the new Coronavirus appeared in March of last year, accumulates 300 deaths and 45,361 infections.(Xinhua Source)