By Carlos Miguel Pereira Hernández
March 22, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
As you know, there has been encouraging news of the last few days in China indicating substantial progress towards controlling the spread of the virus at the mainland level. Together with the strengthening of quarantine measures in major cities to stop the upsurge of new cases “imported” from abroad, are reflected important changes in the scenario we have experienced in recent weeks.
While cities such as Wuhan and others, considered epicenters or areas most affected by the epidemic could move towards a gradual relaxation of the quarantine measures imposed, others such as Beijing and Shanghai will have to remain under strict mandatory quarantine measures for those arriving by air from abroad. This will involve adjustments to air routes, with previous stops in other cities and even changes in the planned destinations of international flights, as part of the measures taken to control the upsurge of new cases arriving from abroad. Only six new cases were reported in Beijing in this way.
The situation in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao still remains complicated, although the trend of increasing new cases is also showing an encouraging slowdown.
As it is known, the situation of all our colleagues and relatives in China has remained unchanged and uneventful. This is largely thanks to the joint efforts of all and the discipline maintained in complying with the measures indicated. However, while the situation here is improving after two very critical months, in the rest of the world, including our country, it is tending to worsen and become more critical. That is why we must redouble our efforts so as not to compromise what has been achieved, to avoid complacency and, at the same time, to prepare for a gradual return to normality.
These have been intense days. In addition to taking care of ourselves and preserving the health of our collective to the maximum, it has been necessary to deploy an intense battle for the truth in our networks. [We want] to close the way to the lies and manipulation that have proven to be more contaminating and lethal viruses than COVID-19 itself. From our pages in different platforms, we responded to incredulous and manipulative people about the successful use of nebulized applications of Cuban interferon manufactured in the Changheber plant, both from the preventive point of view by the Chinese medical staff before attending the patients and in the treatment itself of the patients infected with the virus.
Just a few days ago, when we were in the midst of that other battle, in an inexplicable way, Facebook, based again on its questionable algorithms, surprisingly deleted the official page of our embassy, from which we had been informing the world in an objective and systematic way about what had happened in these long months of the epidemic, the situation of our compatriots and the work of the diplomatic mission and the consulates in the People’s Republic of China.
However, Cuba’s commitment to the truth can never be erased, not even with all the clicks in the world. Barely 24 hours later, a new page was created from which we have followed and will continue to disseminate to the world our bilateral work, as well as reiterating our support and recognition to the Chinese people and government. [In addition, there are such] humanist acts as the decision to receive the British cruise ship infected with COVID-19 in Cuban territory to enable its passengers to return to their countries of origin, or the decision by China and Cuba to send medical brigades and to strengthen international cooperation as the only effective way to win this battle for life.
Taking into account the evolution of the situation in China, the embassy, the consulates general of Shanghai and Guangzhou, the Cuban representative offices and the Antillean personnel on official missions will continue to implement planned measures, which take into account the persistence of the danger and the call for strict compliance with measures to avoid contagion, in the midst of a gradual return to normality.
The medical post will remain in operation at the embassy headquarters, with the services of the medical team that is among us. It will continue to support us in the important task of providing medical guidance and advice, and also in complying with the medical protocol established since the beginning of the epidemic. Given the current epidemiological conditions of our country, this acquires even greater importance in order to ensure that nationals traveling to our country strictly comply with it. The impeccable implementation of that protocol has enabled dozens of our compatriots to return to the country in good health and no cases of contagion from China have been reported so far.
As it has been reported through different channels, all Cubans who plan to return to the country in the next few days must also strictly comply with the indicated medical protocol, for which they must contact the corresponding consular office and the medical post.
On the other hand, taking into account the evolution of the situation and the gradual reestablishment of face-to-face work by the Chinese institutions, starting tomorrow, Monday, March 23, the Cuban embassy and consulates in China will begin to resume their work in person, which will be done in a flexible manner according to the situation in each locality and in coordination with the respective heads of offices and consulates according to the priorities to be undertaken.
In the case of the Embassy, the following measures will be mandatory:
The mandatory use of masks. Once you arrive at the parking lot and before entering the offices, have your temperature taken at the medical post.
Hands and shoes will be disinfected at the entrance of the Embassy.
No inter-office visits will be allowed and only those meetings duly authorized and coordinated by the embassy management and with the measures duly taken.
Do not use common glasses, cups or spoons. Each colleague must have and use his or her own.
Meetings with external personnel will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis and with due authorisation and will be carried out in strict compliance with the measures indicated.
It is necessary that the offices are kept clean and aired at least twice a day for 30 minutes each time.
The Consular Office in Beijing and the Consulates General in Shanghai and Guangzhou will continue to provide services as before. Secretaries may be incorporated as long as services are provided for which they are required and with strict compliance with all measures, including the use of nasobuco on a permanent basis. The consulates must permanently have all the resources to ensure prevention and timely disinfection.
In the case of the group of students studying at different Chinese higher education institutions, general compliance with these measures will continue to be observed, and they will have to be adapted to the characteristics of each university and the decisions that will be announced by the corresponding authorities for the current school year. For the time being, the Chinese authorities recommend that students abroad do not return to China until otherwise indicated.
To the resident Cuban community, we reiterate that the embassy and its consulates will remain as they have been up to now, open and in permanent communication with you, to assist and support you in whatever may be necessary. As soon as the situation allows it, we will meet to take stock of what has happened during these days, in which the unity and cohesion of all becomes the main possible and necessary path towards the future.
To all of you, no matter the task or mission that has brought you to China or the migratory status you have today, I reiterate, on behalf of the leadership of our Embassy, that it has been a true honor to have shared these difficult days with you. We have made real the permanent call of President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez to “think as a country”. At the same time, I congratulate you for the exemplary attitude that has been maintained, which is allowing us to arrive little by little at the goal and to contribute our share in the battle that is being fought. I am not exaggerating if I say that you have been up to the task of our always hardened people and also of the brotherly and stoic Chinese people.
Reciprocal solidarity between Chinese and Cubans has always been present in the common history of our peoples. There are many and countless pages written throughout these years, in which each party has spared no time or effort in supporting and reaching out to the other, in the midst of situations of disasters, epidemics, media campaigns, and unprecedented manifestations of hatred and economic warfare.
These have also been days of deep solidarity and mutual support. Cuba has not only been among the leading countries in supporting and recognizing the epic battle waged by China, which has also been a crusader for the world. But China has also provided its concrete contribution in solidarity in many ways. These include the joint work of experts who have joined forces in the development of new medicines or therapies to confront a disease that, beyond announcements and predictions, remains dangerously unknown. Likewise, Chinese and Cuban doctors are working side by side today to confront COVID-19 in the region of Lombardy, Italy, one of the most affected regions in that country.
More recently, after the appearance of the first cases of the new coronavirus in the country, we have felt the human and supportive accompaniment of the Chinese government and authorities. They were among the first again, as well as their people, their companies, institutions and friends in general, to whom we extend our deepest gratitude. Increasingly, they contact us from all parts of China to send us their encouragement and support and their confidence in the capacity of our country and its health system to face the COVID-19.
As has already been announced by the Chinese authorities, an important government donation is ready, which will be joined by others that will generously send Chinese companies with a long history of links with the Island, including equipment, inputs, and others of great practical value that will reinforce the proven capacity of the Cuban health system to act, always focused on preserving the life of the people. In addition, a modest donation is being prepared by the community of Cuban residents through the Association of Cuban Residents in China “Ernesto Che Guevara”.
The battle continues, there is still much to be done. COVID-19 constitutes a global threat that must be faced with the cooperation and responsibility of all. In its prevention and containment, solidarity and international cooperation is the only possible way.
Beijing, 22 March 2020
This company belonging to the Ministry of Culture of Cuba, which produces and markets goods for the art industry, is today one of the institutions that have joined the production of nasobucos throughout the country.
By Redacción Cultural
March 23, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The National Council for the Performing Arts promotes the actions of Tecnoescena, a company belonging to the Cuban Ministry of Culture that produces and markets goods for the artistic industry, and which today is one of the institutions that have joined the production of nasobucos throughout the country.
According to José Martínez, its deputy director, this company is producing this add-on for free distribution, guaranteeing, fundamentally, the national schools of the artistic education system, as well as in the Theater and Dance centers of Havana, in some groups, among which is La Colmenita. Other cultural institutions, whose work will interact with the public,will also benefit, specifically in the area of tourism.
Tecnoescena is joined by three groups of artistic creators from the Cuban Fund for Cultural Goods (FCBC) in Ciego de Avila, who have made available to their province 5,000 nasobucos, made by them.
These timely initiatives are those that reinforce the action of the country’s main organizations, focused on the work of preventing the new coronavirus. (Cultural Editor)
By Danay Galletti Hernández
March 24, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Hysteria is as dangerous as social apathy, said Dr. Annia Duany, head of the Psychiatry Group at the Hospital Docente Clínico Quirúrgico Salvador Allende in Cuba, She said that confidence in the social measures taken in Cuba against COVID-19 is essential.
Panic does not help in pandemic situations and a favorable mood affects the prevention and treatment of diseases, Dr. Duany told Prensa Latina.
“It’s normal in this situation for people to experience nervousness, worry, anxiety and fear, but it’s essential to have positive coping resources. Examples being with family, seeking reliable and safe information, doing tasks and enriching our spiritual world,” he said.
On the other hand, Dr. Ana Sarracent, head of the Psychiatry Group at the Calixto Garcia Hospital, explained that although there is a risk of contagion at any age, epidemiological research indicates that those over 60 are more vulnerable to Covid-19.
“In these cases, family support is transcendental because they are more sensitive from the psychological and organic point of view. Also, extreme care and hygiene must be taken, as well as those with nervous or cognitive disorders, to ensure that they enjoy positive and happy materials,” she said.
The research work implemented to identify flu symptoms in the population and possible cases of the pandemic also reveals a significant number of adults who live alone and, therefore, need community support, Sarracent added.
They tend to have a hypochondriacal view of diseases and their situation of loneliness, as well as a diverse perception of the news broadcast on the subject, he said.
In coming days, numerous Cuban residents will arrive in the Caribbean nation and will be under isolation in response to a protection measure. The family, far from being distressed or depressed, must be aware and assume it in an appropriate manner, he said in reference to the most recent measures taken by the authorities.
About the children and how they should be treated in this context, Dr. Mabel Whilby, head of the Infant-Juvenile Group at the Pediatric Teaching Hospital of Cerro, Havana, explained that this sector of the population has different stages in psychological development and should receive information age appropriately.
The family must convey to the children that this situation will soon return to normal and then they will be able to play again with their friends, she said.
Children also have emotions, sadness and fears and must channel them, and at the same time, their parents must instill security and confidence in them through play, she added.
In this sense, conversations between adults cannot take place in front of children because they are too aware of the signs of how adults handle this situation, as they are patterns to imitate.
The specialists agreed on the importance of risk perception and insist that isolation and surveillance in homes be assumed with appropriate behavior: avoiding alcoholic beverages, smoking or neglecting eating habits.
Questions and rumors about COVID-19
A difficult, but not invincible rival, appears in our geography. It needs to be defeated, in the purest sports jargon, with a KO.
By Gladys Leidys Ramos
March 23, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A difficult, but not invincible, opponent appears in our geography and needs to be defeated, in the purest sporting jargon, with a KO. Victory will not be rewarded with a gold medal, but with the most brilliant prize: life. For this, we have the best Cuban team: the national health system and our families.
The game will be tense, long and with constant strategies, at the height of the best game of chess, basketball or baseball. The Cuban people and all its institutions will fight for the ultimate victory.
The rapid spread of the new coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 disease, has set off alarm bells all over the world. A total of 171 countries, among them 41 Latin American and Caribbean peoples, are being threatened by this pandemic. However, Cuba has the necessary conditions for its prevention.
The measures taken by the country’s leadership and the national health system are intended to avoid any vulnerability that could undermine the well-being and quality of life of every Cuban. In this effort, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution are holding health meetings throughout the country to help raise the perception of risk of this disease.
In the People’s Council of San Francisco de Paula, in the capital city of San Miguel del Padrón, one of these debates was held on the causes and consequences of the new coronavirus, its forms of propagation and the actions that should be taken to reduce the possibilities of infection.
“The objective of this meeting is to keep the population prepared. I insist on hygiene precautions for each person: washing hands with soap and water or alcoholic solutions; also cleaning surfaces with this type of product. Primary care, where the actions begin, is ready and trained to deal with this phenomenon. In the polyclinics and clinics, all the personnel are working to keep the information on the subject up to date,” Luelsis Hernández, director of health in the municipality, told the residents of the popular council.
Sandra Layón, coordinator of Zone 55, expressed her concern, specifically with the population of San Francisco, because she believes it may be vulnerable. “There is talk that the fundamental basis for containing the infection is the doctors’ offices, but I think that the work of the doctors and nurses in our territory should be intensified, in the field, which is the main scenario for detecting cases.
On that point, Hernandez Torres said that although there are 20 doctor’s offices in that community, and each one has doctor and nurse coverage, he agreed with the call to defeat this disease.
Risk perception and prevention are key against the coronavirus. Although the work of health specialists is essential in preventing phenomena like this, the will and responsibility of each one is equally important.
Nurse Maria Hernandez called for responsibility and discipline in the investigations that are currently being carried out in the area,, This is one way in which the primary health care network can rule out or identify any case of infection by the virus.
Idania Bastida, a pharmaceutical worker, agreed with her and called on all the inhabitants of the popular council to be able to maintain the hygiene of the community with the resources they have.
“It is important not to form gatherings on street corners, especially now that we have several collectors. We must also respect the schedules for dumping that waste. We know that there are places where trucks cannot gain access due to the geographical characteristics of our town, but that is why the collectors were installed on the corners,” said the ceding company.
Adis Aba Escalona, an official of the Federation of Cuban Women, took advantage of the occasion to inform the residents that the creative women in the municipality are working on making nasobucos, as a protective measure.
“For that reason, we are calling on everyone who knows how to sew to join in this work and complete as many as possible, not only in San Miguel del Padrón, but also in the entire capital and, if possible, in the country.
Jan Carlos Serabay warned of the need for young people, as a sector that can be vulnerable due to the low perception of risk, to contribute individually and collectively, not only to avoid infection in their age group, but also to transmit information from social networks, so that Cuban society becomes informed and aware.
On the other hand, Dr. Dairis Escobar recalled that, unlike other peoples, our country has the possibility of taking effective measures. “We take measures so that every Cuban becomes a protagonist and communicator of hygiene actions and discipline from the workplace and the home; for that we do not need greater material resources, only the perception of risk and the willingness of each person to take care of themselves and others.
The health system is doing its job, from the preparation of each worker in the sector, doctors, nurses, cleaning staff, laboratory workers, etc., to the conditioning of rooms in hospitals, to wait for admissions with everything ready,” he added.
By Roberto Díaz Martorell
March 23, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Nueva Gerona, Isla de la Juventud – The alarm clock sounds at 5:00 a.m. and Dr. Alexander Labrada Torres turns it off instinctively. His tired body resists getting out of bed, but the responsibility as a doctor gives him the final push and, as he did several weeks ago, he gets ready to do her duty.
At his side, his wife, Yuraika Gonzalez, diligently prepares breakfast and helps with the backpack. Nothing can be left behind: gloves, nasobuco (mask), cap, the water to drink, the glass…, and the kiss goodbye after the strong coffee to recharge the batteries. Alex goes out on his bike and travels the distance between his house and the Passenger Boarding Terminal in Isla de la Juventud, where he is the head of the border service dealing with COVID-19.
“Responsibility is inherent in every doctor and you comply with corresponding rigor, especially when it is your turn to look after the health of more than 500 people every dayl There are are two trips more than a thousand, in addition to the crew. In addition, each person conducts himself in a different way and sometimes it is very difficult to dialogue,” he says while organizing the work at the terminal.
First, he prepares with all the established attachments for cases like these, then he distributes the resources to the workers who, are obliged to interact with the people and watch over the fulfillment of the foreseen measures. It stops. He observes that everything is going well and he almost smiles.
“It is my responsibility to monitor every boat that leaves or arrives on the Isle of Youth; I do it together with the nurse on the catamaran to check the temperatures and the active search for any respiratory symptoms. The first trip begins with the check of bulletins from 5.30 a.m., and when we set sail, contact with the director of the entity along with the board of directors to assess the implementation of health and hygiene measures in all its units.
“And if it were only one trip, it would end with the reception of the boat around 3:00 or 4:00 p.m., but on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays there are two,. On the second one, the control begins around 2:00 p.m. That second trip arrives in Nueva Gerona after midnight and sometimes until 4:00 a.m., and already at 5:30 a.m. a new day begins.
“I am very grateful to my wife; without her support, it would be very difficult to complete these schedules, I almost always arrive at the house to eat and sleep. I almost always arrive at the house to eat and sleep. While keeping myself informed of the hygienic and epidemiological situation of the country and the municipality,” he says, taking a seat to “refresh” the tiredness caused by the intensity of the work and sleeping after hours.
But Alex is not satisfied yet; he still thinks that a large part of the population does not understand the magnitude of the situation and maintains inadequate behavior. “The fact that, in Isla de la Juventud, there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 does not eliminate the conditions of vulnerability for contagion and that is avoidable if the measures of the Ministry of Public Health are fully complied with,” he explains.
“I get tired and I get better; fulfilling my medical responsibility is the daily vitamin I consume. We can’t afford not to identify a COVID suspect, because I know that with my work I’m protecting an entire island that expects the best from me,” he says.
At the Viajero maritime terminal in Nueva Gerona, no confirmed positive cases are reported, but they are on high alert. Any respiratory or feverish symptoms are monitored in those who leave or enter the territory by this route. “Here we have a post or isolation room, health hearings are held for passengers during their stay. Also, when they board the boat they disinfect their hands with sodium hypochlorite,” he explained.
During the trip to the port of Batabanó, the catamaran carries a nursing staff with the necessary medical supplies to act in case of an emergency and also during the three hours of travel is observed the conduct of passengers, if necessary to activate the protocol provided.
Alex tells us that the most critical day happened with the first Italian who arrived in the territory with catarrhal symptoms and he was on duty at the General Teaching Hospital Héroes del Baire. “Everything was very fast, with no time for training, and we didn’t have much knowledge of the disease. It was a long night without sleeping and I was worried, because I didn’t know what would happen in the morning. Luckily it was negative; the patient only had to be treated for pneumonia.
“I have been counting the days for two weeks in a row, but I have the confidence and assurance that my personal actions are helping to keep this little island free of the coronavirus. And I know that, like me, there are thousands in the country who keep a permanent watch on our borders; a hug for them and we continue to fight. Our duty is to protect people and we will do it,” he emphasized.
Jesús Álvarez, who has been discharged, said he had the strength to resist in the middle of the storm, because he knew about the quality of Cuban medicine
Author: Freddy Pérez Cabrera | firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Santa Clara – I do not have words to express my gratitude to Cuba, which has been able to train such humane and professional doctors, nurses and specialists, thanks to whom I am back to life today, said Jesus Alvarez Lopez, the first Cuban carrier of the new coronavirus who has been discharged.
The 25-year-old dancer, who lives in this city, told Granma that at present he is evolving very favorably, and with a very rigorous follow-up by the family doctor, who comes daily to see how he is doing, takes his temperature and performs other controls, according to the protocols established for these cases.
About the experience, he said that his wife, Anel González Zurita, a Bolivian citizen living in Milan, Lombardy region, Italy, had arrived in Cuba without any apparent symptoms of any illness. However, a few days later she began to have slight respiratory problems, as he did. For that reason they went to the health system, where they were immediately admitted to the Villa Clara isolation hospital, and later transferred to the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK), where the illness was confirmed.
“Imagine what I suffered at that moment; the world fell on me. I felt fear, I thought the worst, in my family, in my little girl Ana Sofía who was only one year old. But I had the strength to resist in the middle of the storm, because I knew about the quality of Cuban medicine,” says Alvarez Lopez.
Referring to the treatment he received, he has words of praise for the doctors and all the staff who work at the Manuel Piti Fajardo Hospital in Villa Clara and the IPK, for which he says he feels grateful. They made him understand that he was not alone during those days of isolation. “They were my parents, my brothers, my friends,” the young man said emotionally.
“There I lacked for nothing, no medicine, no resources of any kind. They even spoiled me a little bit, because if I was hungry, it didn’t matter if it was two in the morning, they brought yogurt or some food. If I wanted to talk to my family, they facilitated the conversation through the telephone. In short, I was pleased with everything, says Jesus, who before saying goodbye, wanted to send a message to the Cuban people, whom he thanked for so much love in these difficult days.
“I am worried because I see some people who are still on the streets and without the necessary consciousness for the present situation. To them I say to take care, that this can touch anyone. You have to listen to the guidelines of the government, which is working very hard to avoid the worst. If we take all the measures, we will get out of this, because we are a people of battle, nobody doubts that, we will win.
By Lisandra Gómez Guerra
March 18, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Mantua Lombardy, Italy; 6:00 p.m., March 13, 2020. Only silence breaks the area bordered by buildings. Only a few people walk at a brisk pace around a supermarket. A few others shyly take in the last rays of sunshine from their balconies. They have been confined within four walls for too many hours and there are still many others to come. No one speaks. The afternoon seems the same, for more than a week now.
Suddenly, a sound light forces them to look outside. A miracle! Maybe they thought. But, the close neighbors came out grateful to enjoy a real show. From a small balcony, Cuba embraces the pain and sadness of hundreds of Italians who live day by day a duel with the coronavirus. Thank you, Cecilia Valdés, for so much spirituality. Thank you, Diana Rosa Cárdenas Alfonso, Cuban lyric singer living in Mantua, region of Lombardy, one of the Italian areas most affected by the coronavirus, for alleviating despair.
“If we chose to be artists it’s because we decided to make people aware. Art always helps. In a moment as complex as this one, it reaches a greater transcendence because it touches inside. That’s why we can feel alive, even if everything around you is dying. We will always remember that moment because it has united us as human beings,” Diana Rosa tells Juventud Rebelde via messenger, an application that erases the thousands of miles between her and this island.
That Friday afternoon, she did not hesitate to accept the flashmob (a call to a large group of people to do something unusual) from every balcony, through social networks, an initiative that spread as quickly as the coronavirus itself. She went out to the small space of her apartment. Dressed in a black coat, red pyjamas, socks and flip-flops to get around the little cold air that has yet to leave Mantua, she rose up on the improvised stage.
She turned on the horns and raised her voice. On one side, her husband immortalized the moment, in a video that went viral in a few hours on several social networks. On the other, Marilu, her cat, watched it with pleasure. All around, little by little, spectators and many ovations joined in.
“They were super happy. They applauded me a lot. They shouted at me that if I needed an audience after everything was over, I should call them. The salespeople at the supermarket, where they have not banned sales because of the need for the service, shouted “You are brave,” says the 30-year-old young woman from Havana, her voice broken by so much emotion.
And although Diana Rosa, since her arrival in Italy in 2013 – one of her dreams for having opera as a genre with deep roots there – to perfect what she learned in the teaching unit of the National Lyric Theater of the Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, has made several of its stages her own, she still finds the experience difficult to digest.
“We went out to check if anyone else was doing anything and nothing happened. So, we said, let’s do it. It was very improvised, it was even half-disheveled. And it’s not the custom here to do that. I even live in a region where people are not as expressive as those who live in southern Italy. That’s why I never imagined singing on the balcony. Of course, at home I do, so my closest neighbors know I’m a lyrical singer,” says the woman who alternates presentations, after passing the auditions, with classes in lyrical and modern singing.
But the departure of Gonzalo Roig’s zarzuela was not the only thing that calmed Mantua’s life: “I also performed some operas from this country, such as Turandot. And two days later, I did a duet with my Japanese neighbor, each from her home, and we sang Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. That time, even my kitten joined in with her meows,” she adds, while a smile cuts off communication.
-Why Cecilia Valdés?
-Since I was a child I’ve had a strong bond with that work. My mother used to sing it to me, although she didn’t study lyrics. I played it in Cuba and here I did my thesis at the Lucio Campaniani Music Conservatory on the three Cuban zarzuelas: Cecilia Valdés, María la O and Amalia Batista.
“I am very grateful for my training in our country, especially to my teacher Adolfo Casas, for having instilled in me love and respect for that repertoire. Cecilia Valdés wastes Cuba, not only for her text, but for mixing so many rhythms. If I am Cuban, how can I not give away our art in such a complex moment?
-How much of Cecilia, as a true Creole, is there in Diana?
-I think a lot, because in reality when she says she doesn’t know what it is to suffer, that’s what characterizes us Cubans. We always put on a happy face in moments of sadness and problems. We face everything with a lot of dignity. Cecilia is Cuba.
-Why do you think that interpretation has gone around the world?
-First, I never imagined that it would happen. But it must have something to do with the fact that I gave away a song that belongs to me for being Cuban. I am happy to have awakened so many feelings, solidarity, brotherhood…, although it was in such a sad situation as the one we lived in and we will not forget.
“I have received hundreds of compliments and messages of love. Even a friend told me he saw me on Brazilian television. That response teaches us that we are capable of feeling and loving even in difficult times. But many are the artists who have done the same, and thanks to the networks we can enjoy them”.
For more than a week, Diana Rosa has barely passed the perimeters of her apartment due to a measure adopted by the Italian government to prevent the spread of the pandemic. “When I go out, just for a medical emergency or to buy food or medicine, I wear a mask, gloves, glasses. When I come back I take everything off, wash it and put my coat and shoes on to get some air and sun.
“I wash my hands constantly and inform myself. I maintain links with the Facebook page of the Cuban Embassy in Italy and my mom calls me every day. They are worried about us over there, but we are fine,” says the woman who inherited her passion for music from her baritone grandfather and his father, who, without any academic training, mastered the chords of the guitar.
-In your opinion, why has the coronavirus been so strong in Italy?
-I suppose it’s because at the beginning they didn’t take the measures of restriction that should have been demanded. It’s a virus that spreads quickly and you can have it and be asymptomatic. That’s why any measure is insufficient,” she insists whenever someone asks about the health of the Old Continent.
And while Italy, like many parts of the world, continues to be trapped by the tentacles of a virus that is bent on stealing thousands of lives, Diana Rosa thinks about how to dispel the annoying silence that surrounds her.
“Some artist friends have asked me why I did it, as if when everything happens no one will remember. I don’t care if that happens. Sometimes a single moment is enough to realize so many good things. I experienced that that afternoon and I will continue to live it from my balcony, at least until we are free of this situation,” she concluded.
By Jorge Gómez Barata
March 18, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
I heard two appeals to the Cuban government yesterday. A brief and peremptory: “Close the airports: Now!” The other one sounds like a plea: “I ask the Cuban government please DO NOT to send our medical personnel anywhere…”
By the way, the Chinese authorities believe they have identified “patient zero.” He is a man who contracted the virus in mid-November 2019. Since then, more than 100 days, after which there are three sick people in Cuba, no dead, and about 150 contacts under medical supervision. why then close the airports?
The other fellow Cuban, asks that “no medical and nursing be sent anywhere…” The thing is, the government doesn’t send them. In any case, it summons trained professionals and in full use of their rights acting voluntarily. Probably, many take on the task not as a task, but as an opportunity. I know comrades, myself among them, who believe it was worthwhile to go Angola where the risks were enormous.
In December 2019, China was surprised by the aggressiveness of COVID-19, but not Europe and the United States. In fact, since the end of December 2019 and early March 2020, had more than 60 days to prepare. The warning was early, although the reaction turned out to be late. The alarm, at times a mixture of impotence and hysteria, is motivated not only by the explosive spread of COVID-19, but also by the ineffectiveness of health systems in responding to situations to guide social and economic activity. societies to observe minimum rules.
Cuba, with more than 100,000 doctors and sufficient nursing staff, more than 3000 hospital beds for that purpose, the means to diagnose and the necessary medicines and a national mobilization led by the president of the republic, manages the threat. It does this without demanding extraordinary sacrifices and costs from the population which they cannot incur.
Cuban solvency stems from having faced two major epidemics: African Swine Fever in 1980 and a sudden outbreak of Dengue Fever that 1981 affected more than 300,000 people, 158 of whom died. To study, participate in events or get cured, they come to the island by the thousands, people from poor countries and tropical climates where there are infectious diseases. Cubans, too, by the hundreds of thousands as happened in Angola, travel and stay in those countries. Rejecting some and preventing others from traveling is not part of Cuba’s national health doctrine.
Cuban solvency can be explained by the fact that for decades, thanks to the existence of an effective health model, based on a system of primary care, an advanced approach to the epidemiological issue [has been in place] It addresses the prevention and treatment of diseases like Dengue, Zika, Cholera, Chikunguya and others. Cuba’s strengths show that it is not always about money. From one day to the next some developed countries can have fifty billion dollars to deal with the pandemic. However, no amount of money will allow you to install national primary care and to have hospital capacities to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Nor is it possible to inculcate all people, the habit of going to the doctor as the Cubans do, among other reasons, because none of them will leave in debt or broke.
The task of the moment, as the World Health Organization suggests, is to identify, isolate and cure the infected, and control rigorously their contacts. As for the tourists, people presumably healthy, checked in their countries and re-examined when you get to the island, there’s nothing to be afraid of. As it has always been done, those who arrive healthily will be cared for and those who unfortunately get sick, they’ll be cured. See you there.
By Yurisander Guevara
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The impact of a pandemic is felt in all walks of life. The technological world, of course, does not escape it. That COVID-19 has spread to all regions of the world is already wreaking havoc on industry, as evidenced by the dozens of canceled events and extreme measures that have made headlines in recent days.
False news and email hoaxes are also rampant, seeking out victims in people who are uninformed or eager to learn more about the virus, so they are capable of clicking anything.
In this issue we summarize some of the false news found in the networks, related to myths that have been denied by the health authorities.
*It’s false that the virus is in the air It is transmitted through droplets of saliva or mucus, mainly when coughing or sneezing, hence the importance of masks or naso-buckets for those who identify themselves as sick, mainly.
*It is highly recommended to wash your hands well. Recent information states that it is more decontaminating to use soap and water than hydroalcoholic gel. False news indicated that water alone would keep the virus away.
*The virus is not mutating: the World Health Organization assures us that the virus maintains a stable structure. Variations in symptoms among affected people are associated with previous pathologies and the interaction of the coronavirus with these.
*Dogs and cats do not transmit the virus, nor do mosquitoes. Basic hygiene care must be followed with animals, but the coronavirus has not been shown to affect pets more than people. There is a whole family of known and harmless viruses, very common in cats and dogs for many years, which are called coronaviruses because of their crown shape, but they are not COVID-19. As for mosquitoes – agents that transmit diseases such as dengue, zika or chikungunya – it has not been proven that they transmit this virus either.
*The coronavirus cannot be cured and we are no longer protected by the pneumonia vaccine, Ebola treatments or antiretrovirals for HIV. This is a different virus for which a concrete solution is being sought, according to the WHO. On the way, it is normal that experimental treatments are made, but it is not advisable to self-medicate. The treatment of the coronavirus is currently symptomatic and is in the hands of epidemiologists.
*There is not a pattern of behavior before different ages. It is false that the elderly are the first to be infected or that children are immune. The deaths of older people and those who are immunosuppressed with other opportunistic diseases are not a definitive indicator of the seriousness of the coronavirus.
*Smoke from fireworks and firecrackers does not kill the pathogen. Incredible as it may seem, it has been circulated on the web that smoke generated by gunpowder kills the coronavirus. The WHO radically denied this possibility and warned that fireworks can cause burns and irritation to the eyes, throat and lungs.
*Many of the recommendations about what to eat, how to avoid spicy food or take too much vitamin C are false. The only thing the WHO recommends is not to eat raw or undercooked animal products.
*Sesame oil does not kill the virus, although bleach or chlorine-based disinfectants do. It should be understood, however, that these substances hardly affect the virus if applied to the skin or under the nose, WHO stressed, as a warning to those who might think of extreme prevention.
*The virus is not related to room temperature. It has been claimed that the coronavirus is vulnerable to heat, but that does not mean that high temperatures will exterminate it. Cases have been reported in all types of weather, hot or cold, dry or wet.
*The virus has nothing to do with its country of origin. Many memes have been shared discriminating against the Chinese, as if they were to blame for the existence of the virus. That an evil has been generated in this country that is now a pandemic does not give the right to discriminate against them. Solidarity must be a principle.
On the other hand, it is important to be alert to the contents received in the email. According to Wired, phishing scammers -a procedure to infest a computer and then access its data and use it for the benefit of the hacker- have taken advantage of fears about the spread of COVID-19 to create e-mails with that in the subject.
This week the Chinese firm QiAnXin detected Russian hackers, possibly affiliated with the groups Sandworm and Fancy Bear, who sent emails with malicious document attachments to Ukrainian targets. The emails claimed to come from the Ukrainian Health Ministry’s Public Health Center and arrived in the midst of a disinformation campaign that stoked fears about the spread of the virus in the European country and caused riots.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese security firm VinCSS detected a large volume of new phishing emails related to the coronavirus in the last two weeks, attributed to hackers. The emails include a malicious attachment purporting to contain information about COVID-19, allegedly sent by the Vietnamese Prime Minister. Of course, it’s a fake.
Another campaign attributed to Chinese actors by Check Point investigators targeted victims in Mongolia. South Korea suffered phishing attacks in February, with emails addressed to government officials, in which documents contaminated with malware were sent.
As always, it is best to be on the lookout for scams in times of uncertainty. It is not only the emails that need to be protected. Strings of messages are very common on social networks, but we recommend paying special attention to attachments that may arrive via WhatsApp, Telegram or another network.
Google and Twitter announced that searches related to the word coronavirus will try to match them with reliable content, and something similar will be done by Facebook and Instagram.
The truth is that institutionality is now relevant, and it is the official information that is the most reliable. In times of pandemic, sites such as www.sld.cu contain a huge amount of information to not only keep up to date, but to know how to act in the face of this challenge.
By Haydee León Moya
March 20, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Guantánamo: Where they take their delegate to account, that is where it took place: in the community park. People arrived well before the scheduled time to attend a public health hearing on the coronavirus.
They were heard talking about the subject and what they were interested in being informed about. A young doctor from outside the neighborhood also arrived early and wrote down what he heard.
I never saw such quietness in the girl who was accompanying the adults. “This is very serious and you can’t interrupt,” a grandmother told her grandson, shortly before the young and very active leader of the neighborhood introduced the visitor in the white coat for a masterful lecture.
As a specialist in General Integral Medicine at the community polyclinic, he updated us on the positive cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Cuba until that evening. He explained the history of the disease, the ways in which it is transmitted, the symptoms that, if they appear, should make us go immediately to a medical institution.
He also gave the telephone number of the Command Post where one can ask for any guidance and made it clear that nobody can trust that their cough or fever is from a cold of days ago: You have to go to the doctor and demand that behavior in every house, as well as smearing hypochlorite on the common surfaces, which in the neighborhood pharmacy are regulating its sale so that everyone has enough.
“The doctor’s office is the closest, so you don’t waste any time, but you can go to the one you want,” the doctor replied.
“Listen, I know of a person who came from outside and spent the night coughing. What can you do if you don’t want to go to the hospital?” asked another neighbour.
“Well, you must isolate him and demand that he go to the doctor, or you can call the telephone I gave you and report it,” explained the specialist very seriously.
“But look, doctor: look at all the positive cases in Cuba, if not foreigners, at least they have had contact with those people or visited countries where the disease is spreading. If you see one of those cases, to prevent them from walking in the street it’s better to call the command post and have them pick you up in an ambulance, don’t you think?”, said another.
“That’s very good and it’s already planned. People who have an illness related to the characteristics of this disease should participate actively and responsibly in the protection of the rest of the population,” insisted the doctor, and answered other questions from the same court.
That is precisely the value of these public exchanges in the open air: People inform themselves, participate, anticipate and learn, thinking about their own and others with a more responsible tone.