Border control, essential to face Covid-19

Diaz-Canel highlighted the need to intensify hygiene measures in all scenarios. Photo/ Estudios Revolucion.

HAVANA, Cuba.- The President of the Republic, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez insisted that the current control carried out now at the border to detect travelers who enter the country and who could be carriers of Covid-19 is essential, during the meeting the Cuban Government systematically holds to monitor the situation generated by the new Coronavirus.

As an essential principle, he said, guidance and information to travelers on the behavior to be followed once they enter the national territory should be emphasized.

Similarly, the Head of State underlined the need to intensify hygiene measures in all scenarios; keeping research active in health areas; and implementing telework in all workplaces where there are conditions for it, without people continue fulfilling their activities.

In presenting an update of the situation in the country, Minister of Public Health Jose Angel Portal Miranda, said that in addition to the three cases reported on the morning of March 18, a new patient was diagnosed, so now there are 11 confirmed in the country.

He is a 57-year-old Canadian citizen who arrived on the island on March 14 from Canada, on a direct flight to Holguin province, and stayed at the Rio de Oro Hotel in the municipality of Rafael Freyre.

When he began to develop symptoms he was identified on March 16 by the institution’s doctor as a suspect, and immediately admitted to Villa El Cocal isolation center. This Wednesday, he was diagnosed as positive to the new Coronavirus by the molecular biology laboratory of the Provincial Center for Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology of Santiago de Cuba. His clinical evolution is stable and six direct contacts have been identified, all in surveillance.

After commenting on the unfortunate death of the Italian tourist, whose situation had been aggravated in recent hours due to severe complications typical of the disease, Portal Miranda explained the ten diagnosed patients who remain admitted to health institutions have a stable clinical evolution and their direct contacts remain in active surveillance, without incident so far.

The Minister of Public Health commented that 356 patients are admitted for epidemiological surveillance, of which 101 are foreigners and 255 Cubans; while 26,415 were under surveillance for primary health care.

To date, he said, 19 cases of Acute Respiratory Infection have been researched, 400 of which were positive for respiratory viruses, predominantly Influenza A. In particular on Covid-19, 259 studies accumulate, 11 of which have tested positive.

Faced with the growing threat of the global pandemic, where the disease has already been reported in more than 146 countries and figures of deaths above 7,800 people are found, the Cuban Government continues to implement and refine the prevention and control measures already designed, which will be joined by others taking into account the epidemiological situation we face.

As an essential element, Portal Miranda highlighted the follow-up to people entering Cuban territory, especially if they come from high-risk nations. In addition to the precautions of each traveler, whether or not resident in the country, it is vital a vital strengthening of checks in the areas of care, even if people do not have any symptoms.

Regarding to travelers living in Cuba, Deputy Prime Minister Roberto Morales Ojeda emphasized that all possible measures should be intensified. “If they don’t show up at the Family Doctor-and-Nurse office, we have to go and get them, and that’s part of the active research. Everything we are doing has to seem insufficient for the sake of prevention,” he said.

For his part, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz drew attention to the need to continue moving forward with all the firmness of this situation, and without hastening or improvisation.


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