COVID-19 pandemic in Cuba
The COVID-19 pandemic in Cuba is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have spread to Cuba on 11 March 2020 when three Italian tourists tested positive for the virus.
|COVID-19 pandemic in Cuba|
|Arrival date||24 February 2020|
(1 year, 1 week and 4 days)
|‡Suspected cases have not been confirmed by laboratory tests as being due to this strain, although some other strains may have been ruled out.|
On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.
Cuba faces multiple domestic challenges in its response to the ongoing pandemic. Health professionals are facing challenges including shortages of medical supplies, poor sanitary conditions, and low wages. Cuba also has one of the oldest populations in the Americas and one quarter of the population is considered at-risk. Additionally, Cuba's economy is suffering due to the global decrease in tourism amid the pandemic. As a consequence, the government began increasing centralization of the economy in an effort to prevent a deeper economic crisis like the one experienced by the country after the end of the Cold War.
Cuba's policy of “medical internationalism” has played a prominent role in the country's response to the COVID-19 crisis. Cuba sent medical personnel to the hardest-hit Italian wealthy region of Lombardy, as well as Angola and a dozen Caribbean states including Suriname.
Cuba has engaged effective COVID-19 preventive measures, and despite the concurrent economic crisis and shortages of consumer products, officials have reporter that the country's population has only suffered minimal losses. Regular testing, wearing of face masks, and health visits by nursing professionals have kept the reported case loads and mortality rates lower than in most countries of the Americas.
The government urged citizens to make their own face masks, while the textile industry was drafted to fabricate them. People were advised to carry several cloth face masks with them, depending on how many hours they plan to spend in public areas.
On 12 March, a fourth confirmed case was announced. This was a Cuban, whose wife had arrived from Milan, Italy on 24 February, and who had started showing symptoms on 27 February. The husband had begun to show symptoms by 8 March. Both were tested and he was positive. The wife was stated to be negative because the disease had run its course.
On 16 March, the cruise ship MS Braemar, with over 1,000 passengers and crew on board, was given permission to berth in Cuba after being rejected by the Bahamas. At least five passengers have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). British citizens were able to take flights home after both governments reached an agreement on their repatriation.
On 17 March, the number of confirmed cases increased to 7.
On 18 March, the number of confirmed cases increased to 10, and the first death was announced, a 61-year old Italian who had been one of the first three confirmed.
On 19 March, the number of confirmed cases increased to 16.
On 20 March, the number of confirmed cases increased to 21. Also, it was announced that Cuba will restrict entry to residents with effect from 24 March. Only Cuban residents may enter, that is, if they have not been outside of Cuba for more than 24 months; as well as foreigners residing on the island.
On 22 March, the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) of Cuba raised the number of coronavirus infections on the island to 35 but were monitoring more than 950 suspected cases, according to information published by the state agency on its website.
On 23 March, authorities in Cuba raised the number of coronavirus patients to 48.
On 24 March, the Cuban government closed all schools until at least 20 April.
Visitors who arrived between 17 and 23 March were required to be tested for the coronavirus.
As of 30 March, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases was at 170, with 4 deaths.
With effect from midnight on 1 April, Cuba suspended the arrival of all international flights.
On 4 April, authorities in Cuba raised the number of coronavirus patients to 288.
As of 15 April, there were 755 cases of COVID-19 in Cuba, there were 18,856 total tests done so far
As of 12 May, new cases had fallen to less than 20 per day, and a program of mass testing was beginning.
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