Monday, March 30, 2020

Yuri Gonzalez Hernandez: Report on the Emerging Scope of COVID-19 in Cuba

(All Pix Yuri González Hernández )

The Coalition for Peace & Ethics has been reporting on the pandemic situation in Cuba (see here, here, and here). In particular we have been connecting the issues of sustainability and the UN sustainability development goals, especially related to water, and the situation of developing states like Cuba (see, Sustainability and COVID-19--Water Scarcity, Epidemics, and the Case of Cuba).

This post, prepared by Yuri Gonzalez Hernandez provides a brief and more general timeline of Cuba's engagement with the pandemic.  It is the story of a transformation from a state policy projecting medical assistance abroad, to one in which the state has to deal with a growing incidence of infection at home. It is particularly useful for comparing the arc of response in Cuba to other states in Latin America. To that end Mr. Gonzalez Hernandez will be reporting on responses in Panamá and Perú.

Mr. Gonzalez Hernandez is a Cuban Lawyer (University of Havana 2009) who is currently in residence at Penn State where he is working on his LLM degree. He had been worked as legal advisor for different Cubans companies, the tax office of La Havana and The Historian Office of the City of Havana. Since 2016 he has provided legal advice to self-employed workers, and also has participated in non-profit entrepreneur projects, aimed at the development of some communities of the City of Havana. He may be contacted at glezyuri15[AT] 

The Report Follows below. 

It may also be found at the "Inputs" Section of the COVID-19 and International Affairs Roundtable Website(click here). In future posts we will consider  the Cuban government coverage of this matter (which may be unprecedented) and citizenship initiatives.

Cuban’s Current Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Yuri Gonzalez Hernandez
Cuba is a country world-widely recognized for having good prepared doctors who work for vocation first than for the profit. The Cuban doctors and scientists have developed as such a good professional based on their desire to offer well being to the patients in general.
The world has experimented since the end of the last year others of the most dangerous pandemics ever seem. This is the COVID-2019 started in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019. No one imagines at that time that this disease could to reach a world magnitude. Since January this virus has become a world issue so many citizens form many countries around the world had been infected and the propagation of the virus has been faster than the preventive measures for avoiding the infection.
Cuba despite being a country with a good health care system, was one of the countries that didn’t take the spread of the COVID-2019 so serious. One of the things that make me believe this, was the fact that even though it was public domain that the COVID-2019 didn’t have until the moment a cure, one of the measures for stopping the infection was the social isolation. This was the first measure taken in China and was recommended for every country. Between January and February were registered cases in Latin America and the Caribbean. At that time some Cuban agencies began to promote Cuba as a tourist destination ignoring the complex world situation and oblivious to the published data that showed the numbers of infections in the different European nations from which tourists were arriving on the island. At the beginning of March Cuba was one of the Caribbean nations without any reported case. Unfortunately, this situation changed after march 10th. It was precisely through tourism, that Cuba began to deal with the virus and the consequences that it brings.
The first case of coronavirus in Cuba occurred on March 11, 2020. 1
The government confirmed the first 3 cases, with three Italian tourists being affected, being immediately admitted to the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine. The three
COVID-19 positive tourists in Cuba came from Lombardy, the region of Italy with the highest number of cases. 1
On March 12, the Cuban authorities confirmed the first case of a Cuban with coronavirus in the province of Villa Clara. The patient's wife is a Bolivian national and resident in Milan, Italy. Bothvisited Italy, although according to the authorities she did not contract the virus and remained asymptomatic. 1
On March 18, one of the Italian tourists who arrived on the island with the disease died. The patient was 61 years old and had a history of bronchial asthma. 1
On March 19, 2020, the Cuban authorities confirmed 5 new cases, 4 foreigners and one Cuban resident in Italy who had arrived in Cuba just a few days ago, increasing the number to a total of 16 cases. 1
The Cuban government announced on March 20 the closure of the borders as of March 24, having reached the figure of 21 infections by COVID-2019 and 716 in preventive isolation, finally understanding the serious consequences that would continue to receive foreign visitors in the country. In such a way that only Cuban residents can enter, that is, they have not been outside for more than 24 months; as well as foreigners residing on the island. 2
On March 21, the first local transmission event was reported on the Island, specifically in the municipality of Cárdenas, Matanzas province. The fact is related to one of the cases diagnosed on that date. This is the case of an entertainer from a hotel in Varadero. Its source of contagion, it was said, was a group of Italian tourists. From this patient, 53 contacts were identified, which are isolated and under epidemiological surveillance. In the following days, four relatives and a friend were positive for the coronavirus. 3
On March 21, 2020, authorities of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) reported on the worsening of the health status of two of the 21 patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The same date the MINSAP announced 4 new cases, which correspond to the report of March 20, 2020, the total number of cases infected on March 21 is 25. 1
On March 22, 2020, MINSAP announced 10 new cases, which correspond to the report of March 21, 2020, the total number of cases infected as of March 22 is 35. The same day a MINSAP note informs that in Cuba there are "admitted for clinical-epidemiological surveillance, in the isolation and care centers created for this purpose, 954 patients; of them 255 foreigners and 727 Cubans.
Another 30,773 people are monitored in their homes, from Primary Health Care ". 1
On March 23, MINSAP reported 5 new cases corresponding to March 22, 2020, for a total of 40.
On March 24, MINSAP reported 8 new cases corresponding to March 23, 2020, for a total of 48 confirmed cases, 1,229 cases under surveillance and 1 patient discharged. 1
On March 25, 9 new confirmed cases corresponding to March 24, 2020, were published by MINSAP, for a total of 57 coronavirus cases in Cuba. 1
On March 26, 10 new confirmed cases corresponding to March 25, 2020, were published by MINSAP, for a total of 67 cases of coronavirus in Cuba. 1

 On March 27, MINSAP reported 13 new cases that correspond to March 26, 2020, with a total of 80 confirmed cases, 1,851 suspected cases admitted. 1
On March 28, 39 new confirmed cases were reported, bringing the number of cases to a total of 119 infected people. The director of the national institute of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Public Health declared that Cuba is in the epidemic stage, or stage II. This means that people must strengthen care through the use of the masks, as well as maintain interpersonal distance. 4
Of the 39 new cases identified: 25 have their source of infection abroad, 10 are related to previously confirmed cases and four other contacts of people from countries at risk, who are no longer in Cuba. 4
To date, Cuba has 119 cases in total, 4 of which have recovered and 3 have died. Among the new cases reported are 5 minors of age, which are in good clinical condition and are evolving satisfactorily. 5
In their entirety, the registered cases belong to Cubans; 25 of them were infected abroad, as they arrived from the United States (11), Spain (3), Panama (3), Mexico (3) and, in number, one from Guyana, Peru, Haiti, Canada and Nicaragua. 5

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