The Havana authorities imposed as of this Friday and indefinitely a night curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., in order to stop the coronavirus infections, which have shot up in the last two months.
The island’s capital, with 2.2 million inhabitants and where a group of containment measures already governed, reported 385 new positive cases this Thursday, and in recent weeks it has concentrated on average half of the new daily cases registered in the country.
The total restriction of movement of people and vehicles decreed this Thursday by the Provincial Defense Council (CDP) allows only the circulation of authorized vehicles at night and early morning, and will be in force until the epidemiological situation “is favorable,” the local daily Tribuna de La Habana reported.
This is the second time that a curfew has been imposed in the capital since the start of the pandemic. The measure was also in force throughout last September, although then it began at 7:00 p.m.
The CDP also announced a strengthening of the capacities of the hospitals and isolation centers, since the Cuban protocol includes the mandatory hospitalization of all confirmed and suspected cases, as well as the isolation of the contacts of both. Also the entry into force of “a group of measures to order the taking and analysis of samples, prioritizing vulnerable people and the evolutionary PCRs done on the fifth day,” after the irregularities and delays there had been with the diagnostic tests.
The vice president of the defense body, Reinaldo García Zapata, indicated that “the results of the samples of suspicious patients have to be delivered before 48 hours to speed up discharges and ensure greater availability of beds,” Tribuna de La Habana said.
In addition, the authorities referred to the presence of children “carrying out activities of any kind on public ways, transgressing the prohibitions established on the subject” and reaffirmed that in those cases the parents or guardians of the minors should be fined 2,000 pesos, “for which the inspectors and the members of law enforcement must increase its effectiveness.”
In the same way, they explained that “it was decided to reinforce the control mechanism to enter Havana,” for which “a system of permits for vehicles and people who will enter through the established control points is proposed.” Those who enter through other accesses will be fined 2,000 pesos.
The Cuban capital regressed in January to the phase of limited autochthonous transmission (epidemic) and keeps schools, bars, restaurants and beaches closed, while applying another group of measures that so far have not managed to contain the spread of the disease.
Cuba has so far recorded 30,345 coronavirus infections and 225 deaths, according to data from the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP). The current wave of the pandemic, which the authorities link to the failure to comply with the protocols for travelers after the reopening of the airports in October, caused a decline in the de-escalation in almost the entire country except—for now—in three provinces.
Along with the new internal restrictions, the country also reinforced containment measures at the border, which include the limitation of flights from the United States, Mexico, Panama, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Jamaica and Colombia, as well as the requirement of a negative PCR to enter the island.
The Cuban authorities also announced this Thursday the temporary closure of the Camaguey international airport in their efforts to close the door to the virus. In addition, air connections with Haiti, Nicaragua, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname remain suspended.