On Wednesday night, Cuba’s Ministry of Health confirmed the first three cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. The three infected persons are tourists who arrived from the Italian region of Lombardy.
The tourists arrived at the José Marti International Airport in Havana and stayed at a hostel in the southern town of Trinidad. They demonstrated respiratory symptoms and were admitted to a hospital where they tested positive for the virus.
Cuban authorities have been fine-tuning health protocols and its emergency response over the last several months.
José Angel Portal, Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, announced Monday on the TV show Mesa Redonda that the country has allocated funding and medicine, disposable protective clothing and medical equipment in the case of a COVID19 pandemic.
The Cuban treatment protocol of coronavirus includes the use of the pharmaceutical drug Interferon alfa 2B recombinant (IFNrec). The drug is developed and manufactured on the Island and used in the treatment of viral infections such as Hepatitis B and C, Varicella-zoster virus, HIV/AIDS and dengue fever.
China, with the largest number of infected persons globally, has been using Interferon alpha 2B to combat the coronavirus. The rate of new infections in China has since decreased. The drug is able to make up for interferon deficiencies produced by the virus in the human body, and strengthen patients’ immune system, Cuba’s Granma newspaper reported.
Italy which has been hard hit by the virus, is currently under nation-wide lockdown and stores, restaurants, bars, and beauty salons have been ordered to close. COVID19 continues to spread globally, sparking emergency measures by governments worldwide.
The coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11.