Cuba fights against the increase in infections and the economic crisis that does not allow more measures

Cuba is going through the worst wave of infections since the beginning of the pandemic, so the Government has made the painful decision to close the city of Havana as of Thursday.

There will be no school activity or public transportation. The bars and restaurants had been locked for several days.

The island, which has a little more than 11 million inhabitants, has been beating maximums in coronavirus infections for a week, accumulating more than 16,000 cases and 158 deaths.

Low figures compared to neighboring countries but unthinkable until now for a country that kept daily cases below one hundred until December. The closure of the capital has received the approval of the Cubans.

“The measures are too important, because if we continue as we are in the first phase, there could be many more infected than there are at this time, so the measures are well taken,” said Amado Martinez, one of the Cuban citizens in favor of more restrictions.

The authorities assure that the exponential increase in infections is linked to the opening of airports in October during the relaxation period. Also to the return of the Cuban diaspora for the December celebrations.

Other activities that become sources of spread are the long lines and crowds to buy food and basic necessities that have become increasingly scarce in recent months and that make it difficult for Cubans to stay at home.

But another border closure cannot be repeated in Cuba. The economy is in an agonizing point and the purchase of vaccines to immunize the population of the virus seems distant.

With the sanctions of the United States and the European Union – its main commercial ally – focused on stopping the third wave, everything indicates that Cuba has a long and lonely road to travel in the remainder of the pandemic.

The Cuban vaccine “Sovereign 02”

Cuba, with a recognized biotechnological experience, has four coronavirus vaccine candidates in different phases of testing and has assured that it hopes to immunize its entire population in the first half of the year.

The country has just signed an agreement with the Pasteur Institute of Iran to test its most advanced candidate, “Sovereign 02”. In Iran, the circulation of Sars-CoV-2 is three times that of Cuba, still low to achieve rapid and conclusive results in the third phase of clinical trials, which involves the largest number of volunteers. The island does not have an economic and financial situation to buy vaccines from other producers.