by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, Sept. 12 ( Xinhua) -- The Cuban government continues to work on reducing the number of deaths, ICU admissions and daily cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, while urging Cubans to strictly follow sanitary guidelines.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel urged local governments across the country to use medical oxygen more efficiently and monitor home hospitalization of people infected with coronavirus.
"Being rigorous in demanding the following of protocols must be constant and part of the daily analysis to get rid of those problems," he said during a recent governmental meeting.
He also said that strict fulfillment of sanitary guidelines would support the huge efforts the island has been making as part of the ongoing COVID-19 inoculation program.
The Caribbean nation logged 8,034 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, along with 80 more related deaths, taking the country's caseload to 745,202 and death toll to 6,299.
At present, the westernmost province of Pinar del Rio sees the highest COVID-19 transmission rates across the country, according to Francisco Duran, national director of hygiene and epidemiology at the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP).
"The novel coronavirus is not like seasonal flu. Many people infected with COVID-19 may have severe symptoms quickly," he said during a daily coronavirus briefing broadcast on TV.
Over the past week, the special municipality of Isle of Youth, which had reported almost no coronavirus cases over the past few months, saw 10 new infections due to COVID-19 protocols breaching, the government said.
Meanwhile, in Havana, home to 2 million inhabitants and the country's most populous city, ferry services connecting the city's old quarter and the municipality of Regla resumed under COVID-19 safety protocols.
In addition, train services transporting people to the periphery of Havana will restart on Monday.
Nationwide, local partial lockdown restrictions are in place, including restrictions of people's movement during nightly hours, and suspension of in-person classes until children get vaccinated.
Cuba expects to speed up the pace of the national immunization campaign, vaccinating more than 5 million people against COVID-19 through September, including kids aged 2-18 years old.
Currently, there are 39,248 active cases of coronavirus in the country, 439 of whom are in intensive care units.
So far in September, 85,738 have tested positive for coronavirus in Cuba, with 922 more deaths, according to statistics released by MINSAP.
A year and a half into the pandemic in Cuba, more than 6.7 million people, or about 60 percent of Cuban nationals aged 19 and above, have now received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.