HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba reported a record 93 cases of the new coronavirus on Monday as a surge of the disease in the Havana area threatened to stall the re-opening of the country after a partial lockdown beginning in March.
Most of the cases were in Havana, where a partial lockdown was re-imposed on Monday, and in neighboring Artemisa province. The area has been isolated from the rest of the country where with but few exceptions no cases have been reported in more than two months.
In Havana, restaurants, bars and pools are once more closed, public transportation suspended and access to the beach banned.
Cuba has been hailed as a rare success story in Latin America for its textbook handling and containment of its coronavirus outbreak through contact tracing and isolation of potential asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.
Perhaps of most concern to officials in Monday’s health ministry report was that 22 cases had not been traced to contacts, a figure way above the usual two or three untraceable cases per day.
“We are witnessing a new epidemiological outbreak that puts our entire population at risk,” Cuban Health Minister Jose Angel Portal said during a daily coronavirus briefing on Saturday.
Cuba has reported just under 3,000 cases and 88 deaths to date.
(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)