COVID-19 | “Sharp increase” in pollution in Cuba

(Washington) Cuba is seeing a “sharp increase” in COVID-19 cases in several provinces where the Delta variant is circulating, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

“The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Cuba is on the rise, and pollution is skyrocketing in many provinces,” Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO, the UN’s regional agency, told a news conference.

According to her, the situation in the tourist region of Matanzas is “especially acute”.

Ciro Ugarte, head of emergency services at PAHO, said this week since the virus emerged in March 2020 on an island of 11 million inhabitants, an infection record has occurred.

“There were over 43,000 cases reported, representing an increase of 21% (over the previous week), with an average of 6,199 cases per day,” stresses Mr Ugarte, who points out that the Delta variant is already being distributed. in several provinces. “.

However, he makes no connection with the recent mass protests that shook the island on 11 and 12 July. “The number of cases in Cuba has been on the rise even before the recent protests,” he said.

Cuba has not joined the Covax vaccine distribution program supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and administered by PAHO in Latin America.

However, in mid-May, a vaccination program was launched with two vaccine candidates developed by Cuban scientists.

According to Ugarte, as of July 17, 3.3 million people, or “30% of the population, still at a low level,” have been vaccinated with this vaccine.

Cuban authorities hope to vaccinate 70% of the population by August.

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