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Roundup: Cuba's daily new COVID-19 cases surpass 1,000 for 1st time
From:Xinhua  |  2021-02-01 14:52

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by Yosley Carrero

HAVANA, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Cuba's daily new COVID-19 cases have surpassed 1,000 for the first time since the pandemic began last year, the country's Ministry of Public Health reported Sunday.

The island registered 1,012 new confirmed cases and one additional fatality, bringing the total to 26,686 cases and 214 deaths.

On top of that, January has been the worst month in Cuba since the pandemic broke out with 68 deaths and 14,630 infections were recorded, the ministry added.

In addition, 5,558 active cases in Cuba are hospitalized in COVID-19 wards with 50 people in intensive care units.

Francisco Duran, national director of hygiene and epidemiology at the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, called on people to reinforce safety guidelines and physical distancing rules to minimize the exposure to the virus.

"Parties, arrival of international travelers and breaching of COVID-19 protocols are among the main causes of the current outbreak," he said during a nationwide televised address.

Local authorities have also instructed parents to take measures to protect their kids after 85 people under 18 got infected with the virus over the past 24 hours.

In Havana, the epicenter on the island, children and adolescents will not be permitted to stay at public areas as of Monday.

"Parents should very much take care of their children as the epidemiological situation gets complicated," said 38-year-old mother Yasmin Perez. "The government is making a huge effort to contain the spread of the virus, but we should do our part."

Earlier this week, Cuba lost its first health worker due to COVID-19 as the government announced quarantine measures for international passengers starting on Feb. 6.

As a consequence, Cubans with residency on the island will be quarantined for free in isolation centers while international travelers will be required to pay for their accommodation and logistics at hotels during the quarantine period.

Currently, in-person classes are suspended in more than 30 municipalities across the country as regulations governing inbound and outbound traffic have come into effect in Havana and the neighboring provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque.

Meanwhile, Abdala, one of the four vaccine candidates against COVID-19 developed by the local scientists, will start the second phase of clinical trials on Monday, involving adult volunteers from the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.

In a similar vein, Cuban biopharmaceutical industry's authorities said that the island would produce 100 million doses of Soberana 02 vaccine candidates.

"I feel optimistic that sooner than later we will be immunized against this contagious disease," said private sector employee Yovani Chavez. "But for the moment, we should be cautious to stay away from the virus." Enditem