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The “exported” cases of covid-19 to Cuba reveal “epidemiological blindness” in Nicaragua

As of April 8, Cuba reports, 515 confirmed cases of the covid-19, three of which would have been infected in Nicaragua, and 15 deceased.

In the last 15 days, the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (Minsap) confirmed the spread of covid-19 in three Cubans who presented symptoms after returning from Nicaragua. This could reveal an “epidemiological blindness” on the part of Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health (Minsa) since up to now the State has not recognized them, nor has it announced to investigate them.

As of April 8, Cuba reports, 515 confirmed cases of the covid-19, three of which would have been infected in Nicaragua, and 15 deceased. Photo EFE

“You argue one case. Two cases even, but already three cases, and from a sister nation, leaves you in no doubt. Cuba is a strategic military and political ally of the (Nicaragua) Government and they are the first to sell us out,” said epidemiologist Álvaro Ramírez.

The first case exported from Nicaragua to Cuba was confirmed on March 27, 2020. It was a 54-year-old woman who arrived on the island on March 16 and 10 days later presented symptoms.

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Regarding this case, Nicaragua’s newly appointed Minister of Health, Martha Reyes, assured that it could be “a confusion”.

“I believe that they (the Cubans) are reviewing it because in our case the information we had is that she left on the 16th and the first case that we have reported was on the 18th,” Reyes said when questioned in an interview with Channel 10.

The second case was on April 3, that of a 38-year-old woman, who returned to Cuba on March 23 and began to manifest symptoms on March 31.

The third case was on April 7, but the day the man returned to Cuba from Nicaragua is yet unknown.

Planting doubt

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According to epidemiologist, Leonel Argüello, each of the cases would have to be analyzed to confirm that they were actually infected in Nicaragua since the virus was present in both countries.

“Then, it would be necessary to identify whether these Cubans were detained in quarantine upon arrival on the island, because otherwise there is the possibility that they could become infected there,” added Argüellot.

“If you have a case of a person who has been in both places, it is more comfortable for you to accept that it is community (infection) and start taking measures. A well-prepared hospital can decrease mortality. A well-prepared population can decrease the number of infections. Prevention measures should be taken without cases, during cases and after cases. There is no scientific argument that prevents you from starting a very strong information campaign,” insisted the expert.

The rate of infection by the new coronavirus has three stages: Imported,  non-imported cases and community cases, at this point the virus is already in part of the population and is transmitted from person to person in public spaces.

Of Central America, Nicaragua is the country that has reported the fewest cases of covid-19. EFE

In Nicaragua, according to the Government, no community cases have been reported. But it is unknown what the data is based on to affirm it.

“In epidemiology you can only say that there is no community transmission when the tests have been done and there is sufficient evidence that there is no virus on the streets. Otherwise, everything is a fantasy ”, explained Dr. Ramírez.

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These tests should be done on a sample of the population in different sectors of the country and if the tests are negative, it could be affirmed with certainty that there are no community cases.

So far, the tests that Nicaragua has done are only in people suspected of covid-19.

“All the countries in the region have shown progressive growth and are now starting with exponential growth. Nicaragua included. Not to investigate is epidemiological blindness. Not look to not find. And while they do not show the quantified evidence, the numbers of how many tests have been done, how they have been done, what type of tests they are using, it cannot be said that there is no community transmission,” added the epidemiologist.

On Monday, the Ortega regime received a shipment of 26,000 rapid tests to detect covid-19. This was a donation from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), financed with funds from a Regional Contingency Plan, agreed by the presidents and heads of state of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

However, it is unknown when and how the tests will be carried out. As well as the data of how many tests have been done throughout the country to rule out coronavirus cases.

For his part, epidemiologist, Leonel Arguello, pointed out that the important thing is to start a strong prevention campaign to combat this pandemic.

“Actually, I look ridiculous to be saying that it is imported or community-based because strong prevention measures must be taken now; you don’t have to have community cases to start a strong prevention campaign,” he points out.

Read the original article in Spanish at Confidencial.com.ni.

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