Cuba performs more than 3,000 tests this Sunday and detects eight new cases of COVID-19

No critical cases were reported, although four patients from Havana are in serious condition

In his daily appearance before the press, Dr. Francisco Durán, national director of epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), said today that on Sunday there were no deaths in Cuba due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and he highlighted the 136 hospitalizations and the eight new infections diagnosed, although he underlined the 3,375 tests made.

“We have been announcing that the number of tests is going to increase,” said Durán.

To date, Cuba has processed 186,518 tests, of which 2,380 have been positive.

The reported infections are from Havana, and five of them are related to an identified focus of infection in the Cerro municipality.this Sunday and detects eight new cases of COVID-19
No critical cases were reported, although four patients from Havana are in serious condition.

In his daily appearance before the press, Dr. Francisco Durán, national director of epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), said today that on Sunday there were no deaths in Cuba due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and he highlighted the 136 hospitalizations and the eight new infections diagnosed, although he underlined the 3,375 tests made.

“We have been announcing that the number of tests is going to increase,” said Durán.

To date, Cuba has processed 186,518 tests, of which 2,380 have been positive.

The reported infections are from Havana, and five of them are related to an identified focus of infection in the Cerro municipality.


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Cuba, the “new normality” and economic uncertainty; now what is next


Havana has been the last Cuban region to join a three-stage de-escalation that had already started two weeks ago in almost the entire country, and is the only place where there is still a drip of cases, less than ten a day on average.

Restaurants, beach and public transportation but with mask and distancing: since this Friday all of Cuba is officially in the recovery phase and once the battle against the coronavirus has been won, the next challenge will be to overcome the serious economic crisis affecting the island, aggravated by the pandemic.

Havana has been the last Cuban region to join a three-stage de-escalation that had already started two weeks ago in almost the entire country, and is the only place where there is still a drip of cases, less than ten a day on average.

With 2,361 infections of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to date and 86 deaths, Cuba has managed to keep the virus at bay compared to other countries with a similar number of inhabitants, thanks to a strategy based on the tracking and immediate isolation of confirmed and suspicious cases and their contacts.

The capital had been waiting impatiently for days for the green light to officially join the rest of the country in the recovery, although unofficially, as many Cubans have ironically been saying lately, the city “had been in phase 1 for more than a month.”

Eight new cases of COVID-19 were reported by Cuba this Saturday, all in Havana. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.
Cuba reports eight new cases of COVID-19

Finally, the sea

And the fact is that for weeks it was obvious that in the streets of Havana there was much more traffic, too many people, and even children playing. Confinement was never compulsory, but the authorities had asked the population to only go out for what was essential and they wrongly trusted that the absence of public transportation would limit mobility.

Among the restrictions that were lifted in the capital is going to the beach and swimming pools (with limited capacity), activities highly anticipated by Havana residents to cope with the overwhelming heat of the Caribbean summer.

The beaches near the city did not wake up crowded, but there were many young people and children who, in small groups of family or friends, went to enjoy the sand and the sea on this first day of de-escalation.

“I had been waiting for it since a long time ago,” Ulises, a 17-year-old student who has spent the last three months at home, studying and helping his mother with housework, told EFE. Like his friend Harrison, 14, for whom the day was “perfect” and who is also looking forward to visiting the family he has not seen since the start of the measures to curb the pandemic.

Jessica, a 19-year-old librarian, claimed that she couldn’t sleep the night before because of the excitement since “I hadn’t gone out for four months and wanted to get to the beach early,” while Mildred Rodríguez, a 45-year-old telecommunications operator was also “waiting anxiously” and wanted to go the first day in case the coronavirus cases increase and restrictive measures are decreed again.

“We’re used to walking”

Another expected return is that of public transportation, in a country where very few people can afford to buy their own car.

The buses started rolling again this Friday with limited capacity and Havana residents, who for weeks have walked indescribable lengths and also dusted off their bicycles, once again lined up at the bus stops, a typical image of the city ​​that the pandemic erased for three months.

“We were walking a lot with the problem of transportation restrictions, today it is starting to improve a little bit,” Héctor Rómura, a 77-year-old fisherman returning home after spending the night fishing, told EFE.

And the fishermen have also returned to the Malecon in Havana, the most beloved and crowded place in the city, deserted since the end of March.

Belkis Ortiz, a 50-year-old housewife, spent the time in wait with humor as she recalled these weeks without transportation, “we Cuban are used to walking, making do….”

The gradual revival also includes in this first phase the reopening of bars and restaurants, although those in the private sector―the famous “paladares”―are taking it easy and not all of them have made an immediate comeback.

Among the concerns of this non-state sector that has flourished in recent years is that of a shortage of supplies. In Cuba there are no wholesale markets and they must supply their businesses in the same state businesses as the rest of the population, but the shortages and capacity limitations have caused long lines and hours of waiting to buy basic need products.

The lines continue

Like the mask, hygienic measures or social distancing, “the lines are also here to stay,” Cubans are saying caustically these days, putting the blame on an economic crisis, yet another, which is increasingly exacerbated.

The country’s already lack of foreign exchange, intensified by the decrease in Venezuelan aid and the new U.S. sanctions, has worsened with the pandemic, which forced the paralyzation of the tourism sector, one of the main sources of income for both the state as well as the self-employed.

During this first phase of reopening, Cubans will be able to practice local tourism, but regular flights and the arrival of foreign tourists will not resume with normality until the third phase.

In the second phase in which almost the whole country entered this Friday except for the capital and neighboring Matanzas, charter flights are allowed only to the keys on the north and south coasts of the island, without visitors having access to the rest of the country or contact with the local population except with hotel workers.

The authorities have not established a fixed calendar for phase changes, which will depend on the evolution of the sanitary and epidemiological indicators of each province.


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Trump campaign to hold outdoor New Hampshire rally on Saturday


President Trump will hold an outdoor campaign rally in New Hampshire next weekend, his campaign announced Sunday.

The event, scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at Portsmouth International Airport, will be his first visit to the Granite State since February.

“We look forward to so many freedom-loving patriots coming to the rally and celebrating America, the greatest country in the history of the world,” Trump 2020 national press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

Attendees at the event will be “strongly encouraged” to wear face masks and there will be “ample access to hand sanitizer” due to the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign said.

According to WCVB-TV in Boston, the New Hampshire rally will be his first return to the state since the day before the GOP primaries in February, where he easily won the state.

New Hampshire was also Trump’s first primary victory when he sought the nomination in 2016.

Trump held his first in-person rally since the outbreak of the pandemic in Tulsa on June 20 but cancelled a scheduled event in Alabama over rising coronavirus concerns.

He gave a speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday.


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Sen. Menendez blocks compensation to families of US victims bombed by al Qaeda


The daughter of a diplomat who lost her dad and younger brother to the terrorist bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya in 1998 is furious with New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez for preventing her and others from receiving millions in victim compensation money.

Edith Bartley called Menendez’s actions a “travesty” in the wake of the killing of her Queens-born father, Julian Bartley, the first African-American consul general to Nairobi and the most senior US diplomat slain in the attack.

It also claimed her brother, Jay, 20, who was doing a summer internship at the embassy.

Menendez has so far blocked a $300 million deal in which Sudan, which acted as a staging ground for the blast and another bomb in Tanzania, would pay the families of the 12 Americans killed $10 million each, while foreigners who worked at the embassy would get just $800,000.


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