Cuban protests risk exacerbating COVID-19 spike – PAHO

By Aislinn Laing and Vivian Sequera

(Reuters) – Protests in Cuba will enhance the danger of COVID-19 transmission due to an already excessive stage of instances and the extra contagious Delta variant, well being officers mentioned on Wednesday.

The Pan American Well being Group (PAHO) urged Cubans and vacationers visiting the Caribbean nation to keep away from crowds, put on masks and continuously wash fingers.

“The gathering of people for protests… will increase the danger of transmission, particularly in instances equivalent to Cuba the place you might have lively transmission in lots of areas over the past week and 34,244 new instances reported,” mentioned Dr. Ciro Ugarte, PAHO’s director of well being emergencies. (Graphic on international instances)

He mentioned in northern Matanzas province, the extra contagious Delta variant had been recognized and instances had been rising exponentially. The world can also be widespread with vacationers, he famous.

Since Sunday, hundreds within the Communist-run nation have protested in opposition to a deep financial disaster that has seen shortages of primary items and energy outages. They had been additionally protesting in opposition to the federal government’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic and curbs on civil liberties.

Cuba’s authorities has mentioned the demonstrations had been orchestrated by america and blamed the decades-old U.S. commerce embargo for shortages.

PAHO Director Carissa Etienne mentioned COVID-19 instances within the Americas had been down 20%, however infections had been spiking in some components of america, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba, the British Virgin Islands, Argentina and Colombia.

She mentioned with out entry to vaccines, the virus would ravage Latin America “for years to return.”

Just one in seven individuals in Latin America and the Caribbean have been totally protected in opposition to COVID, she famous, with Paraguay and Jamaica inoculating lower than 3% of their populations to this point, and Honduras and Guatemala but to guard even 1%. (Graphic on international vaccinations)

Ugarte mentioned Cuba had given greater than 3 million individuals a minimum of one dose of its home-grown vaccines, or 27% of the inhabitants. He mentioned PAHO understood the vaccine’s efficacy in trials stood at between 91% and 92% however that remaining knowledge on its effectiveness among the many inhabitants could be key.

(Reporting by Aislinn Laing and Vivian Sequera in Santiago; Enhancing by Lisa Shumaker)

Cuban protests risk exacerbating COVID-19 spike – PAHO


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