COVID-19 in Cuba

• Cuba reports 20 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours • Cuban officials offer COVID-19 update and impact on foreign trade on Mesa Redonda • Díaz-Canel urges increased food production in Cuba • Cuba deploys nearly 1,500 doctors around the world to confront COVID-19 • South African president thanks Cuba for responding to his call • Cuban government guaranteed return of more than 2,000 Cubans stranded in 15 countries • Solidarity with Cuba in the UK raises thousands of dollars to fight against COVID-19 

Cuba reports 20 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours

Havana, Cuba.- The National Director of Epidemiology of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Francisco Durán, reported that there were 20 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 1,389 positive cases across the island.

During his daily press briefing held Monday morning, Durán said that over the past 24 hours - up to 12 midnight Sunday night - unfortunately, two patients died from the coronavirus. There are now a total of 56 who have died from COVID-19 in Cuba.

To date, 525 patients have recovered -- with an additional 24 released from hospitals on Sunday.

Cuban officials offer COVID-19 update and impact on foreign trade on Mesa Redonda

Cuban minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign InvesmentThe Cuban Ministers of Public Health of Foreign Trade and Investment along with the Deputy Minister of Health in charge of international cooperation appeared on the prime time TV program La Mesa Redonda, The Round Table.

During the program, Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, said that a global economic contraction is expected following the pandemic. He noted that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has predicted a contraction of between 13 and 32 percent in 2020, while foreign investment is estimated to decline this year and next year by 30 to 40 percent.

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Barcena, has also referred to a contraction of the Gross Domestic Product in the region this year, compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The minister recalled that Latin America and the Caribbean is an unequal region from the point of view of income, so this crisis is expected to influence fundamentally the indicators of poverty and food. And he emphasized that the U.S. economic blockade of the island is the main obstacle to the development of Cuba.

Cuba presents a different situation because we are a socialist country and the people are the focus of our government's attention, said Malmierca, and he reiterated that "no one will be left helpless, although as a result of the pandemic, there will be effects."

Malmierca said that it is shameful how, in this health situation generated by the new coronavirus, the U.S. government "tries to distort reality, and suggests that they export food to Cuba, which is true, but they don't talk about the onerous conditions in which they do it.

According to the head of the Mincex, Cuba must pay in advance and operate with shipping companies authorized by them exclusively. In the case of medicines, he added that the import-export company MediCuba has made it clear that it is a blatant lie that the U.S. exports medicines to the Caribbean island, when in fact it is the opposite: "They have created difficulties for us to acquire the necessary resources to face not only this pandemic, but all the challenges of economic and social development."

Díaz-Canel urges increased food production in Cuba

Díaz-Canel called for an end to the import mentality The Cuban government insists on converting agriculture into the main source of food in the Caribbean nation, which today imports a significant part of its food. This was reiterated by President Miguel Díaz-Canel at the last meeting of the Food Program review.

According to this morning's edition of Granma newspaper, Díaz-Canel warned of the complex times ahead for the world economy, affected by the COVID-19 virus. In this regard, he called for an increase in agricultural production to meet the needs of the population, promote the development of the sector and achieve greater production chains.

Díaz-Canel called for an end to the import mentality in a country that spends some two billion dollars to buy basic food products from around the world. According to Granma, the president reflected on the importance that should be given to actions that contribute to the improvement of the land, such as irrigation and fertilizer production.

He also placed special emphasis on investments in the agricultural sector, in which non-State forms of production must necessarily be taken into account.

Cuba deploys nearly 1,500 doctors around the world to confront COVID-19

Some 1,450 Cuban health specialists have traveled to various countries in recent weeks to contribute to the confrontation of COVID-19, a pandemic that affects the vast majority of nations around the world.

Cuban health coperants are fighting the COVID-19 around the world

They are members of the Henry Reeve Brigade, created in 2005 by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro, to attend to situations of natural disasters and epidemics.

The nearly 1,500 doctors and nurses make up 22 health brigades sent by Havana at the request of governments from different latitudes to help confront the disease. The most recent brigade to travel arrived on Sunday in South Africa made up of 217 professionals.

They are considered ambassadors of health in Cuba and are currently deployed in more than 20 countries in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East.

South African president thanks Cuba for responding to his call

A brigade of 217 Cuban health professionals, members of the Henry Reeve contingent, arrived in South Africa on SundayCyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, thanked his Cuban counterpart, Miguel Díaz-Canel, for responding to his call in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed that they will always be grateful to the Cuban people.

This deployment is a demonstration of the strategic partnership and solidarity between South Africa and Cuba and a good example of South-South cooperation, he said on his official Twitter account in reference to the arrival of a Cuban medical brigade to his country.

He stressed that both countries share a special bond with strong historical relations spanning decades.

More than 732 South Africans, many from previously disadvantaged communities, have received years of training in Cuba since the inception of the Nelson Mandela/Fidel Castro medical training program, he said.

Ramaphosa said the theme of this year's Freedom Day is "Solidarity and the Triumph of the Human Spirit in Difficult Times," and it is appropriate that on this day they welcome the Cuban health experts who have come to that country to support their efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

A brigade of 217 Cuban health professionals, members of the Henry Reeve contingent, arrived in South Africa on Sunday to support the fight against the pandemic in that country. The group is made up of family doctors, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, health technology engineers and biotechnology experts.

Cuban government guaranteed return of more than 2,000 Cubans stranded in 15 countries

more than 2,000 Cubans have returned to national territory, by air and sea, from more than a dozen countries.Since the announcement of the regulations on travel to and from Cuba, a measure adopted by Cuban authorities as part of the National Plan for the Prevention and Confrontation of COVID-19 as of March 20th, more than 2,000 Cubans have returned to national territory, by air and sea, from more than a dozen countries.

Among the nations from which Cuban residents have returned are Angola, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, Mexico, Panama and Equatorial Guinea, reported Cubaminrex.

These return flights of Cuban citizens and foreigners residing in our country have been organized between the competent Cuban authorities and their counterparts in each of the countries involved, in strict compliance with internationally established standards.

Since the beginning of the spread of the pandemic, Cuban Consulates have provided timely information to Cuban nationals abroad on the evolution of the disease in the territory and on consular procedures. At the same time, the Cuban authorities are permanently monitoring the situation of our nationals stranded in different countries, while efforts are being made, whenever possible, to ensure their return to our country.

Likewise, the actions of Cuban residents and members of solidarity organizations with Cuba have been commendable. They have provided food, medicine and inexpensive accommodations to Cuban citizens who are waiting to return to our national territory.

Solidarity with Cuba in the UK raises thousands of dollars to fight against COVID-19

The director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Rob Miller, denounced the impact of the U.S. blockade against CubaLondon.- More than 20 thousand pounds sterling (about 25 thousand U$D) were raised by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) in the United Kingdom to help the Caribbean island fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the organization said that the money, contributed by over 500 donors in the first days of the call through the CSC website (https://cuba-solidarity.org.uk/emergency-appeal-for-cuba/) last week, will be sent to the Cuban Ministry of Public Health to purchase artificial respirators, COVID-19 tests, and protective equipment for health personnel.

The director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Rob Miller, also denounced in the text the impact of the U.S. blockade against Cuba and thanked all those who responded so quickly to the emergency call.

In this regard, the British solidarity organization recalls that the unilateral measure imposed by Washington for almost six decades has caused shortages of medical supplies, fuel, and other basic products in Cuba and that this situation has been exacerbated by the increase in sanctions by the administration of President Donald Trump.

The activist also highlighted the "incredible" international response that the small Caribbean island is offering to the COVID-19 pandemic, by sending more than 20 medical brigades to different countries around the world to help fight the pandemic.

Situation in Las Tunas

COVID-19 in Las Tunas

(RHC / 26Digital)