- Title: Cuba confirms its first three cases of coronavirus
- Date: 12th March 2020
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (MARCH 11, 2020) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WEARING MASKS IN AIRPORT
- Keywords: Cuna coronavirys health
- Reuters ID: LVA003C4QWW1Z
- Location: HAVANA, CUBA
- City: HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Cuba
- Duration: 00:00:07
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Cuba confirmed its first cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday (March 11), while its textile industry has been drafted to fabricate masks and the government also urges citizens to make their own, amid a cash crunch and dwindling supplies worldwide.
Cuba's state news broadcaster said four Italian tourists who were staying at a hostel in the southern town of Trinidad after arriving at Havana airport on Monday (March 9) had presented respiratory symptoms and were taken to a hospital on Tuesday (March 10).
On Wednesday, the hospital confirmed that three of the tourists had tested positive for the coronavirus, the broadcaster said. Authorities were tracking down those who had come into contact with the three and was checking up on them.
Outside of Asia, Italy has had the highest number of coronavirus cases.
Over the past 10 days, Cuba has ramped up its campaign on how to ward off the infection, through talks at workplace and community meetings, and through state media.
Government officials have said this week they want to ensure the whole population can either buy industrial masks or make their own.
Supporters of Cuba's centralized economy say it allows the government to effectively divert resources toward priorities in times of crisis, while its focus on preventive healthcare helps it contain disease outbreaks.
Cuba is strapped for cash, partly due to a hike in U.S. sanctions, and it faces shortages of basic goods including medicines, not to mention supplies needed to fight off coronavirus.
So far, Latin America has been spared the worst ravages of the virus. Around 100 cases have been reported in the region since Brazil announced the first case on Feb. 26.
(Production: Mario Fuentes, Rodrigo Gutierrez)
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