“We are witnessing a new epidemiological outbreak that puts our entire population at risk, The forecast indicates that the situation is about to become uncontrollable.”
Jose Angel Portal, Cuban Health Minister
(CMR) Cuba has placed its capital Havana back on a strict lockdown earlier on Saturday following more than 200 coronavirus cases in the last two weeks after it started phase one of it's reopening process in July.
Public transportation was suspending starting Monday and the government has also closed beaches, pools, parks, restaurants, bars and other businesses. Cuban authorities have also suspended private taxi licenses and will provide transportation to essential workers. The city remains open to authorized personal only. Cuba had initially eased lockdown restrictions in July after reporting such several cases per day.
However, the resurgence has meant the country is seeing numbers back to April levels. There were 59 cases reported on Saturday alone and the health ministry has reportedly said that the situation is now “uncontrollable”.
Cuba's top epidemiologist, Dr. Francisco Duran, said on Monday that
“health comes first. Despite the economic impact of these isolation measures, their application has not been delayed.”
The virus is also spreading in Pinar del Río, Villa Clara, and several eastern provinces. Authorities imposed isolation measures in Camajuaní, a town in Villa Cara, and a night curfew in Pinar del Río. Movement in and out of Pinar del Río is also restricted, and those returning to the western province will have to undergo 14 days of isolation in government facilities.
Government authorities are blaming the people stating that they failed to control the spread by social distancing, wearing their masks and staying away from large social gatherings. One hotspot for the most recent outbreak has been a religious gathering. 41 of the 59 cases reported on Saturday were imported in from Venezuela where some Cubans health personnel have traveled to assist with the outbreak there.
Cuban was originally touted as being a success story among the Latin American countries but now has 3,096 cases with 88 dead.
Cuba's international airport in Hava remains closed to commercial flights with only Cuban citizens and foreigners with residence being permitted to enter. Anyone entering the country is required to quarantine in a state facility for 14 days.