Cuban health authorities confirmed five new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing to 16 the total amount reported on the island.
The information was disclosed during the daily COVID-19 meeting of Cuban authorities, headed by President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
The Minister of Public Health, Dr. Jose Angel Portal Miranda, said that of the new five cases, 4 are foreigners, and one is a Cuban woman, who had arrived from Italy.
All of them are in stable condition with no complications, as well as their respective contacts.
As of March 19, 523 people have been admitted to hospitals on the island for epidemiological surveillance, of them 159 are foreigners, and 364 Cubans.
According to a press release issued by the Public Ministry on Thursday evening, the new cases are a 69-year-old male French citizen, a 70-year-old male Italian citizen, a 34-year old male Spanish citizen, an 81-year old Canadian male citizen, and a 37-year old Cuban female citizen.
The new coronavirus is present already 153 countries around the world, with over 213 thousand cases and over 8,800 deaths reported.
Six other nations announced their first cases on Thursday. They were El Salvador, Nicaragua, Zambia, Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar.
In the Americas, 30 countries and six overseas territories have reported cases of COVID-19, and the United States has the highest number of cases.
At the same time, Cuba continuous producing 22 medicines against the new pandemic that has charged more than 9800 dead in all the affected countries.
A total of 22 drugs used in the confrontation and treatment of Covid-19, among which interferon alpha 2B is highlighted for its proven results in China, are produced in plants of the Biocubafarma business group.
These medicines are part of the 300 produced by Biocubafarma as part of the basic supply to healthcare centers and pharmacies throughout the country, efforts currently being increased in response to the epidemiological emergency caused by the new coronavirus, Prensa Latina reported.
Rita Maria Garcia, Biocubafarma’s Director of Operations and Technology, said the company had prepared itself with raw materials, supplies and spare parts to meet the demands of the current epidemiological crisis.
The antiviral recombinant Interferon alpha 2B is a leading product of Cuban biotechnology that is produced at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB by its Spanish acronym) and at the joint Cuban-Chinese plant ChangHeber, where it is used in preventive care for vulnerable health care personnel and patients of Covid-19.
Cuba is currently fully equipped to respond to the country’s needs and to more than 15 requests from nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia, based on the experience acquired from their use during outbreaks of other viruses.
Meanwhile and given the serious international epidemiological situation due to the high level of spread of the new Coronavirus (SARS CoV 2 / Covid-19), and its accelerated expansion, the Cuban Consulates abroad have adopted measures, aimed at protecting Cuban nationals who request services and Cuban officials who work in our country’s consular offices abroad from possible contagion. Temporarily, the following measures will come into effect from this Thursday, March 19:
• The accomplishment of consular procedures at a distance will be promoted. • Cuban citizens who are currently abroad in countries where the capture of biometric data is applied, until April 30 of this year may have their passports updated or processed without having to visit Consulates and Consular Offices. To do this, they must use the application form available on the website of each Consulate or Consular Office and comply with the quality requirements established for the photo and signature. After the aforementioned date, taking into account the evolution of the international epidemiological situation, the continuity, or not, of this measure will be reevaluated.
• Cuban citizens close to completing 24 months of uninterrupted stay abroad, will not need to request extensions from March 19, 2020, and may remain outside Cuba until further notice, maintaining their status as Permanent Residents in the national territory.
The Consulates have maintained contact with the Cuban residents in each country, in order to learn about their state of health and at the same time disclose the measures adopted by the health authorities of the countries where they are located, and thereby contribute to contain the spread of the disease.
The measures adopted by Cuba to contain the spread of Covid-19 and reverse its effects on our population are also transferred to our nationals abroad.
Given the emergency measures adopted by various governments with the aim of restricting movement in their territories, the Cuban authorities suggest avoiding the travel of Cuban citizens abroad for personal reasons, who could be exposed to the spread of this new Coronavirus and situations that prevent returning to our country on the scheduled date.
For similar reasons, whenever possible, it would be advisable for Cuban citizens residing abroad to postpone their trips to third countries, including Cuba, which can also contribute to reducing the risk of spreading and contagion of the disease. It is suggested that the Cuban community residing abroad pay close attention to the instructions and recommendations provided by the health authorities of the countries where they reside while reiterating the need to stay informed through official sources. For greater precision, those interested should contact the Consulate or Consular Office in their area.
On Thursday 19th , and in accordance with the measures adopted in the country to combat Covid-19, the Political Bureau decided to significantly modify the Party’s plan of national events and commemorations this year, to avoid promoting activities that involve large groups of people.
The approved modification suggests suspension or postponement of planned activities, or commemoration in a more modest fashion, as alternatives to massive events, based on a specific analysis of each of the events planned through July.
As for the events related to historical dates or personalities, they will be commemorated in all cases on the date scheduled, with reduced participation, without massive mobilizations, and will be adequately reflected in the mass media.
The decision applies to events of a national, provincial and local character of the Young Communist League, as well, (which has already announced the postponement of its 11th Congress), mass and social organizations and those organized by municipal and provincial Party committees.
With regard to May Day and July 26th events, the Political Bureau will inform our people of specific decisions to be adopted, in a timely fashion.
(Periódico Digital Centroamericano y del Caribe)