Cuba’s main oxygen plant crashes amid COVID-19 outbreak – .

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Cuba’s main oxygen plant crashes amid COVID-19 outbreak – .


People walk under a Cuban flag in a shopping area amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Havana, Cuba on August 3, 2021. Photo taken on August 3, 2021. REUTERS / Alexander Meneghini

HAVANA, Aug. 15 (Reuters) – Cuban Minister of Public Health said on Sunday that efforts were underway to restart the country’s main oxygen plant, which had broken down even as the death toll from COVID -19 reached Saturday 98, equal to the pandemic record.

Minister Jose Angel Portal’s appearance on the midday state news broadcast came as an increase in the number of coronavirus cases caused by Delta and deaths overwhelmed some health services provincial.

Daily cases average between 8,000 and 9,000 and deaths at almost 1% of cases, low by international standards but high for Cuba which last year recorded a death rate of 0.67%. .

Cuba had reported 577,668 cases and 4,023 deaths as of Saturday.

The health crisis, in addition to an economic crisis that saw the economy fall by 10.9% last year, and an additional 2% until June compared to the same period last year, resulted in a shortage of consumer goods and raw nerves in the communist country. country ruled. Last month, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest, the most serious unrest since the early days of the 1959 Revolution.

Residents and some medical staff have taken to social media to complain about treatments in a country that prides itself on the quality of its free healthcare system.

The country of 11.2 million people has fully immunized three million with local vaccines, and two million more are expected to receive a final injection before September.

Official comments last week apparently accusing health workers of the collapse of health services sparked an unusual surge on social media, with doctors accusing the government of a lack of supplies and mismanagement.

Portal was careful on Sunday to praise “the work of our frontline healthcare professionals” while admitting there were shortages of some drugs used to treat COVID patients, 80% of which are produced locally.

The Cuban health minister said a high-level commission was doing everything possible to compensate for the oxygen shortage without indicating when the main plant would return to service.

Reporting by Marc Frank Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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