Sat, 28 May 2022

HAVANA, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Cuban government has announced new protocols for COVID-19 hospitalization as the country's COVID-19 caseload surpassed 1 million on Monday.

The Caribbean nation on Monday registered 3,306 confirmed cases and one more virus-related death, taking the national counts to 1,002,499 and 8,341 respectively, said the country's health ministry.

At present, there are 17,443 active COVID-19 cases across the country, 41 of them being treated in intensive care units.

The ministry said the Omicron variant is becoming predominant across the country as daily infections are projected to climb until the end of February.

In the face of the Omicron variant, health authorities have prioritized in-home care to ease the strain on hospitals.

Children under the age of two years, people with severe symptoms of the disease, and those living with underlying medical conditions will be hospitalized. In addition, people who are not fully vaccinated as well as pregnant and post-partum women will be hospitalized after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

Asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and those reporting mild symptoms must self-isolate at home for one week under regular epidemiological monitoring from the neighborhood doctors' offices.

The new protocols also include the administration of preventive medication to senior citizens and other vulnerable groups.

Local governments have called for reinforcing cleaning and disinfecting procedures at schools, nursing homes, and psychiatric hospitals to reduce the chance of potential transmission.

The Caribbean nation has reported 32,720 COVID-19 cases since January.

International travelers flying into Cuba are now required to show proof of vaccination and a negative result of a polymerase chain reaction test taken within 72 hours before arrival.

In addition, all passengers from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique must stay at designated quarantine hotels for a week at their own expense.

So far, over 87 percent of the country's population has been fully inoculated with home-grown vaccines, and more than 3.5 million Cuban nationals have received booster shots, said the ministry.

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