Cuba reinforces COVID-19 response amid infections surge, medical supplies shortages

(Xinhua) 14:24, August 22, 2021

HAVANA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Cuban authorities reinforced COVID-19 response as hospitals faced medical supplies shortages amid a surge in infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Cuba is going through the most complex scenario since the pandemic began in March 2020, Cuban Health Minister Jose Angel Portal said recently.

The Caribbean nation saw a spike in new cases, as the country on Saturday registered 9,740 new infections and 84 related deaths, bringing the national counts to 573,751 and 4,481 respectively, according to the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.

Healthcare system of Cuba has been overwhelmed by the recent Delta variant-fueled outbreak, facing a lack of medical oxygen and essential supplies.

"In this context, vaccination is the best strategy," Portal said.

The Cuban government is looking to accelerate its vaccination drive against COVID-19, with two more homemade COVID-19 vaccines, namely Soberana-02 and Soberana Plus, being granted emergency use authorization on Friday.

Last month, Cuba approved the emergency use of the homemade vaccine Abdala, one of the five developed in Cuba, making Abdala the first vaccine made in Latin America that meets the requirements for large-scale use in the country and even for export.

So far, more than 4.8 million people in Cuba have received at least one dose of domestic coronavirus vaccines, and around a quarter of the population of 11.2 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry.

In addition, 22 new municipalities started to immunize their population against COVID-19 as part of the national campaign already underway.

Besides vaccination, health and sanitary measures should be maintained, said the minister.

Portal said that mask mandates, physical distancing, ventilation of spaces, and cleaning of hands and surfaces are essential to reduce the risks of contagion.

At present, partial lockdown measures are in place nationwide, including restrictions on people's movement during nightly hours, and closures of cultural centers and sports facilities.

(Web editor: Meng Bin, Bianji)


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