COVID-19 in Cuba

• Cuba reports five new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours • Cuba has capacity for three thousand daily tests of COVID-19  Cuba's agenda focuses on return to normalcy • Cuba's first medical mission on French soil makes big impact • Guinea Bissau welcomes Henry Reeve Brigade to fight COVID-19 • 

Cuba reports five 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 five new cases detected of COVID-19, for a total of 2,330 positive cases across the island.

During his daily press briefing held Saturday morning, Dr. Durán said that over the past 24 hours - up to 12 midnight Friday night - unfortunately, one patient died from the coronavirus. A total of 86 patients have died in Cuba over the past three months.

To date, 2,187 patients have recovered - with 7 patients released from hospitalization during the day on Friday.

Cuba has capacity for three thousand daily tests of COVID-19

2,288 samples were studied the day beforeHealth authorities confirmed today that Cuba has the processing capacity for some 3,000 tests a day, and is working to reach 6,000 in the next six days in the six existing laboratories to detect COVID-19.

The national director of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Public Health, Francisco Durán, explained in his daily press conference that the number of tests to diagnose the presence of SARS-Cov-2 is dependent on the complexity of the territory and the number of suspected cases and contacts, regardless of the capacity of the laboratories.

When answering a question from the Prensa Latina agency, he added that the number of samples carried out is also subject to people from abroad, to respiratory conditions who need income, and to population studies looking for places with no reported cases but with risks.

Durán exemplified that 2,288 samples were studied the day before, with the largest number in the country's capital due to its epidemiological complexity, and 746 in the rest of the provinces, reflecting the magnitude of the investigation so that there are no asymptomatic or infected undetected with coverage for the whole country in this type of analysis.

The director of Epidemiology confirmed that work is being done to prevent outbreaks and second or third waves of COVID-19, taking into account those 14 provinces -except Havana- and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud are in phase one of the de-escalation with compliance with a group of measures to move to what is called a new normal.

He referred to how Cuba has drastically reduced the number of active cases with a favorable evolution, despite the appearance of some outbreaks, as shown by the 55 patients in that condition that are registered today, a situation very different from that of the Americas region.

Durán also commented on the behavior of Cuban children diagnosed with COVID-19, of whom more than 97 percent are discharged and fully recovered, which is supposed to be the result of the vaccination program to which they are subjected from an early age to raise their immune level.

In this sense, he mentioned the application in several countries of the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis to combat the disease with this injection in minors, which does not yet demonstrate high effectiveness, and mentioned that here in an area of the capital the vaccine was provided anti-meningococcal of national production and proven efficacy.

Currently, he said, the results and evidence of the impact it may have been collected, which will be explained at the time, while clarifying that the vaccine is not a treatment but rather improves the immune level for once the virus has been acquired, the evolution of the COVID-19 is without major complications.

Cuba's agenda focuses on return to normalcy

The authorities insist on continuing the protocol for dealing with the diseaseThe steps taken towards a three-phase return to normalcy in Cuba are the focus of the Caribbean country's government agenda, as recovery advances throughout the territory except for the capital.

At the daily meeting to evaluate the development of the disease, headed by President Miguel Díaz-Canel, it was reported the day before that the rate of patients recovering from the new coronavirus was 93.8 percent.

Public Health Minister José Ángel Portal said that 58 people had been confirmed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Spain, representing 2.5 percent of the total.

However, the authorities insist on continuing the protocol for dealing with the disease, which includes actions such as active searches and identification of suspects and contacts of confirmed cases for isolation. Authorities are also considering how to carry out the summer activities, under strict compliance with health and hygiene measures in those provinces that have already established the first phase.

In addition, conditions in schools are being prepared for the resumption of the school year, with the challenge of finding solutions to maintain the necessary isolation in the classrooms.

Meanwhile, in the capital, work is being consolidated to reduce the epidemiological risk and begin the first phase, according to the deputy governor, Yanet Hernández. The parameters to be evaluated include the incidence rate, the reproductive index, active cases, the number of positives with a known source of infection in the last 15 days, and events of local transmission of the disease.

Cuba's first medical mission on French soil makes big impact

France thus becomes the third European state, after Italy and Andorra, to receive Cuban doctorsParis.- The arrival of a Cuban medical brigade on the island of Martinique, an overseas territory of France, has generated widespread media coverage highlighting the aid.

"Cuban doctors are arriving as reinforcements in Martinique, the first in France," headlines Le Monde, which specifies that 15 doctors specializing in pneumology, infectious diseases, radiology and emergency medicine will be on a three-month mission.

According to the influential newspaper, the brigade will help the Caribbean island to face the COVID-19 and to alleviate its lack of health professionals.

France thus becomes the third European state, after Italy and Andorra, to receive Cuban doctors, he says.

For its part, the Franceinfo channel comments that the presence of health professionals from the largest of the Antilles in the overseas department, although it is the first of its kind on French soil, is not an isolated fact, since "nearly 30 thousand are deployed throughout the year in sixty countries, where they help to complete the health network."

In the context of the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, this program launched in the 1960s by Fidel Castro has reached 28 nations, with around 3,000 professionals, he added.

Cuban doctors are leaving to help France in Martinique, highlights Radio France Internationale, while the LCI chain echoes the statements of the President of the Executive Council of Martinique, Alfred Marie-Jeanne, in the reception of the doctors, who traveled on a special Air Antilles Express flight.

"We are living in a historic moment. The arrival of a Cuban medical brigade symbolizes the great brotherhood we have in the Caribbean (...) Saint Martin and Guyana have already contacted us to follow our steps," Marie-Jeanne said at the Aimé Césaire Airport.

Guinea Bissau welcomes Henry Reeve Brigade to fight COVID-19

This is the 36th Cuban internationalist brigadeThe High Commissioner for the fight against COVID-19 in Guinea Bissau, Magda Robalo, together with the Cuban Ambassador in that nation, Raúl de la Peña Silva, received the Henry Reeve Brigade - made up of 23 Cuban health professionals who will help the African country fight the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus.

A note published on the official MINREX website, sent from the Cuban embassy in that African country, highlights that the eight doctors, 10 nurses and intensive care nurses, two laboratory technicians, an electro-medical technician, a logistician and a team leader are part of the 36th Cuban internationalist brigade.

According to the Cuban ambassador, Raúl de la Peña Silva, the Cuban specialists will join the Cuban medical brigade deployed in Bissau, as part of the cooperation and "will form a great family" together with their Guinean colleagues to save lives, in that country where more than 1,600 Guineans have been infected, including 22 dead, since March.

The diplomat argued that the members of the team that arrived in Guinea-Bissau on Saturday have been carefully selected to work on the fight against COVID-19. "They are here in the fulfillment of the sacred duty of saving lives in a poor country, but with a noble and grateful people," said Raúl de la Peña Silva.

The High Commissioner for the Fight against COVI-19 and also former Minister of Health of Guinea-Bissau, Magda Robalo, said that the arrival of the Cuban medical team is "another demonstration of the solidarity and cooperation that exists between Guinea-Bissau and Cuba, a relationship that has been going on for a long time.

"Cuba has always been on the side of Guinea-Bissau, from the period of the struggle for independence until today. It is not surprising to send Cuban doctors to help Guinea-Bissau fight the COVID-19 pandemic," said Magda Robalo.

The Guinean official, who distributed bouquets of flowers to each of the 23 Cuban experts as soon as they stepped off the plane, praised Havana's cooperation at a time when, she said, the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading in the country.

Also present at the time of the arrival of the Cuban specialists was the World Health Organization representative, Jean-Marie Kipela, who considered that Guinea-Bissau "needs additional efforts", that is, specialists in the clinical area of managing this pandemic.

Kipela said he was convinced that the Cubans will help and improve the work done by the technicians from Guinea and other nationalities who are already fighting the disease, in a country where, he said, most of the infected people are asymptomatic.

With information by RHC and PL