COVID-19 in Cuba

• Cuba reports 8 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours  Díaz-Canel acknowledges contributions of Cuban scientists Cuba sets priority for development of trade and e-government Cuban doctors perform outstanding work in Barbados 

Cuba reports 8 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 8 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 1,908 positive cases across the island.

During his daily press briefing held Thursday morning, Dr. Durán said that over the past 24 hours - up to 12 midnight Wednesday night - unfortunately, one patient died from the coronavirus. This was the first death reported in seven days of a patient diagnosed with COVID-19. A total of 80 patients have died from COVID-19 in Cuba over the past two months.

To date, 1,603 patients have recovered - with an additional 30 patients released from hospitals during the day on Wednesday.

A nurse crosses a makeshift ball field to reach Comandante Pinares Provincial Hospital.   Díaz-Canel acknowledges contributions of Cuban scientists

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel highlighted the contribution of Cuban biotechnology in the fight against COVID-19. The Cuban president referred to the production of drugs such as CIGB 258 and the monoclonal antibody ANTI-CD6, which help save the lives of patients with the disease.

For his part, Public Health Minister José Angel Portal Miranda called on people not to be fooled by the good results the country is obtaining against the new coronavirus, which has been expressed in a decrease of patients admitted for care and monitoring of the disease. Portal Miranda urged people to continue to be careful and vigilant.

Statistics from the most recent day showed 3,124 patients admitted for surveillance of the disease, the lowest numbers since April 22nd when more than 10,700 admissions were reported.

Cuba sets priority for development of trade and e-government

Minister Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella.How can we ensure that the process of computerization of Cuban society contributes to the economic and social development of the nation, to the quality of life of our people? How can we make it a working tool that can be used in the daily life of the country and demonstrate the relevance of its use in the most diverse scenarios? These are some of the challenges that the Ministry of Communications has to face in order to promote the advancement of information and communication technologies in Cuba.

In the midst of these challenges, e-commerce and e-government play a key role, two issues to which the country's leadership has given special impetus for several years now and which were once again the subject of analysis at the review meeting of this program led by the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel on Wednesday.

However, that is not the only principle underpinning the development projections that MINCOM has set out to enhance by 2020 with regard to that activity.

The head of the sector, Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella, explained that, among other aspects, said projections contemplate consolidating, perfecting and extending electronic payments, both among legal entities and between them and individuals; introducing electronic payments to the central account of the State Budget, including tax obligations, both of legal entities and individuals; establishing the validity in electronic formats of the documents that support the activity of electronic commerce, including contracts and invoices; and initiating electronic commerce in the wholesale companies with the highest sales volume in the country.

After recognizing how much progress still needs to be made in this regard, Perdomo Di-Lella commented on the benefits that the National Payment Network (PASARED) has brought since 2018, when the first virtual stores were opened to the population and the Transfermóvil application began to be used massively as a means of electronic payment from mobile devices. Later, in 2019, he said, the EnZona application also began to be used, which is currently free of charge when used as a means of payment.

In particular, regarding Transfermóvil, he said that more than 680,000 users are registered there and more than 11 million transactions are carried out every month. Through this platform, it is possible to pay for public services such as electricity, telephone and manufactured gas; bank transfers between users; consultation of banking operations; as well as sending money through money orders.

Reflecting on the benefits that electronic payments bring to the State Budget, Finance and Prices Minister Meisi Bolaños Weiss said that it will have a very favorable impact. She said that the Ministry has designed proposals so that taxpayers can also pay their taxes by this means.

The Minister of Domestic Trade, Betsy Díaz Velázquez, considered that the plan of actions that have been defined allows laying the foundations for the present and future development of e-commerce in the country. Specifically about virtual stores for the population and their increase in the midst of the current situation that COVID-19 has imposed on Cuba, she said that some of the problems presented have not yet been fully solved.

She noted that several companies in the country - not only those engaged in retail trade - are currently engaged in e-commerce, many of them with very good results.

Regarding this strategic issue, the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel, said that "e-commerce is here to stay." Life has shown us -he said- that we have to go into e-commerce immediately; if we had made more progress, it would have been possible to better face the scenario imposed on us by COVID-19.

The Cuban president insisted that in order to achieve the objectives that the country has set for itself in terms of e-commerce, it is essential to have the infrastructure to support it. In this regard, he said, the search for national solutions based on the development of the electronic industry plays a fundamental role, which would not only increase employment capacities but would also give us technological sovereignty in several products.

In this regard, he highlighted the development potential of the thousands of engineers in electronics, telecommunications, automatic control, information technology and other careers that have been trained in Cuban universities.

Cuban doctors perform outstanding work in Barbados

The Cuban Internationalist Henry Reeve Brigade, made up of 95 women and six men, arrived in Barbados on April 5thBridgetown.- Henderson Pinder, chief of nursing services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, highlighted this Thursday the professionalism, dedication and work of the Cuban doctors who are helping that nation to fight COVID-19.

In statements to the local newspaper "Barbados Today" in the capital city of Bridgetown, Pinder said that the group of Cuban intensivists is already adapted and proves to be a great asset to the understaffed care system in Barbados' main medical facility.

He told reporters: "Our country's nurses serve at the newly opened Harrison Point Isolation Centre and the Clinical Decision Unit working 12-hour shifts." In Henderson Pinder's view, nursing has adopted a team approach to patient care, seeking to ensure that the needs of citizens are met.

The Cuban Internationalist Henry Reeve Brigade, made up of 95 women and six men, arrived in Barbados on April 5th and, after completing the preventive 14-day quarantine period, is participating in the national response to the threat of the new coronavirus, SAR-CoV-2.

So far, Barbados has maintained the number of positive cases of SAR-CoV-19 at 90, with seven deaths and 68 recovered. (RHC)