As tension rises over Ukraine Cuba sides with Russia

Matthew 24:6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Cuba to deepen ties with Russia as Ukraine tensions mount
  • In a statement, Cuba’s communist-run government expressed support for Russia as tensions mount in Ukraine, and accused long-time rival the United States and its allies of targeting Moscow with what it called a “propaganda war” and sanctions.
  • Russia and Cuba will deepen ties and explore collaboration in transportation, energy, industry and banking, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said late on Friday following a visit from Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.
  • Russia said in December that escalating tensions over Ukraine could lead to a repeat of the Cuban missile crisis, when the world stood on the brink of nuclear war
  • Recently Putin launched exercises by strategic nuclear missile forces

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Russian expert says Cuba, Venezuela too far or too outdated. But there is another option to pressure the West

Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Important Takeaways:

  • Cuba, Venezuela or both? Russia wants USA to know what it feels like to be surrounded by NATO
  • Military expert Konstantin Sivkov believes that the deployment of Russian arms in Latin America will not give Russia any military advantages. Instead, it will simply become a symmetrical response to the American threat near the borders of the Russian Federation. In accordance with the state policy in the field of nuclear deterrence, Russia still limits the conditions, in which it can be the first country to strike a nuclear blow.
  • “In the event of a nuclear conflict, most likely, it is the Americans that will be the first to attack,” the expert believes.
  • In this case, a preemptive strike makes no sense. Therefore, the expert believes, the probable deployment of Russian weapons in Latin America will have political, rather than military significance.
  • According to Kartapolov, Russia does not need to deploy military bases in either Cuba or Venezuela, since the Russian army has hypersonic missiles in service. A ship or a submarine armed with Zircons can go on combat missions from anywhere in the Atlantic Ocean and then leave, Kartapolov said.

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Possible Russian military deployment to Cuba, Venezuela warns Russia its up to U.S.

Mark 13:8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

Important Takeaways:

  • Russia won’t rule out military deployment to Cuba, Venezuela
  • Russia on Thursday sharply raised the stakes in its dispute with the West over Ukraine, with a top diplomat refusing to rule out a Russian military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States mount.
  • NATO-Russia meeting in Vienna failed to narrow the gap on Moscow’s security demands amid a buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine.
  • While voicing concern that NATO could potentially use Ukrainian territory for the deployment of missiles capable of reaching Moscow in just five minutes, Putin noted that Russian warships armed with the latest Zircon hypersonic cruise missile would give Russia a similar capability if deployed in neutral waters.

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Cuba to welcome tourists as home-grown vaccine drive takes hold

By Marc Frank and Nelson Acosta

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba will open its borders and ease entry requirements next month after vaccinating most of its people with home-grown COVID-19 drugs, allowing it to welcome back overseas visitors and giving a shot in the arm to its ailing tourist industry.

Tough restrictions due to the pandemic, a drastic reduction in flights to Cuba, and a U.S. ban on most travel to the Communist-run island under former U.S. President Donald Trump have hobbled the business and left it trailing behind regional competitors such as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Cancun.

But as Nov. 15, Cuba will only require visitors to carry proof of vaccination or a recent PCR to enter the country, replacing what were previously among the strictest protocols in the Caribbean, involving a quarantine period and multiple PCR tests.

A fully vaccinated population will prove a key selling point for an island already well-regarded for its safety, beaches and turquoise waters, said Francisco Camps, who supervises Spanish firm Sol Melia’s 32 hotels in Cuba.

“Cuba will be one of the safest sanitary destinations and we believe that we can reach visitations similar to 2019 by the end of next year,” he said.

Cuba’s home-grown vaccines are currently under review by the World Health Organization and most trial data has yet to be peer reviewed.

But among countries with more than 1 million people, Cuba is vaccinating faster than any other, according to a Reuters tally of official data.

The government says the pace is paying dividends, with COVID-19 cases and deaths falling off at least 80% since their peak mid-summer. At least 90% of the population has received at least one dose of one of the country’s three-dose homegrown vaccines.

“We are in a favorable moment as we begin to recover our customs, to be able to visit relatives and go on vacation, as well as improve economic activity,” Tourism Minister Juan Carlos Garcia said this month.

The pandemic closed schools, entertainment venues and restaurants as it reduced to near zero the all-important tourism industry – freezing foreign trips by Cubans and visits to the country from Cubans living overseas – exacerbating an economic crisis that has left residents short of food and medicine.

Cuba received more than four million tourists in 2019, contributing 10.6 percent to gross domestic product (GDP), and much more through supply chains and informal economic activity.

But this year just 200,000 guests have arrived and only another 100,000 are expected, Minister Garcia said.

Cuban economist Ricardo Torres said those numbers meant a “devastating” 92% drop in tourism this year, compared to 2019.

“So we are talking about next year for any real tourism recovery…which generates a knock-on effect and so is decisive to economic recovery,” said Torres, a visiting professor at American University in Washington.

The U.S. embargo sharply limits trade with Cuba, so the country depends heavily on flows of foreign currency and basic goods that travelers and the Cuban diaspora bring to the island.

Despite mounting optimism as tourism resumes, officials have cautioned economic recovery will be more gradual than initially thought following a sharp drop of 10.9% last year and another 2% through June.

The Varadero beach resort is already partially open, including for the domestic market, for which it is the favorite destination.

And life is slowly returning to the colonial district of Havana as it prepares to once more welcome visitors after a 19-month hiatus.

“Old Havana has been sad all this time because there have been no tourists,” said Ernesto Alejandro Labrada, owner of the Antojos restaurant, now packed with Cubans enjoying a meal before the visitors return.

(Reporting by Marc Frank; additional reporting by Nelson Acosta, editing by Dave Sherwood and Angus MacSwan)

Cuba-U.S. tensions mount over pending protests on Communist-run island

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel warned the U.S. embassy in Havana against fomenting protests by dissidents on the Communist-run island, the latest flashpoint between the longtime rivals ahead of fresh rallies slated for Nov. 15.

Cuba has said the planned demonstrations – scheduled for the same day the Caribbean island will reopen its borders to tourism – are illegal and blames the United States for underwriting them. The United States has threatened Cuba with further sanctions should the government jail protesters.

In a speech to Communist party stalwarts late on Sunday, Diaz-Canel doubled down on allegations of U.S. subterfuge, accusing the U.S. embassy of playing a role in fanning protests.

“Their embassy in Cuba has been taking an active role in efforts to subvert the internal order of our country,” Diaz-Canel said. “U.S. diplomatic officials meet frequently with leaders of the counterrevolution, to whom they provide guidance, encouragement, and logistical and financial support.”

The embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. diplomatic headquarters in Havana has operated with a skeleton crew since 2017, after employees fell ill with what is now known as ‘Havana Syndrome.’

Scaled-back operations have hobbled diplomacy between the two Cold War foes and have forced Cubans seeking consular services from the embassy to travel to Guyana instead.

Diaz-Canel said the embassy was nonetheless leveraging social media communications to criticize Cuba in “open interference in the internal affairs of our country.”

The embassy in recent weeks has highlighted on social media the cases of several Cubans detained and jailed following the biggest anti-government demonstrations in decades on July 11. The posts on Twitter call in Spanish for the release of dissidents and use the hashtag “#Presosporque,” or “Why are they prisoners?”

Cuban authorities said those arrested in July were guilty of crimes including public disorder, resisting arrest, and vandalism.

Juan Gonzalez, a top adviser on Latin America to U.S. President Joe Biden, told news agency EFE last week that the United States would respond if protesters were again jailed in November.

“Those individuals who are involved in violating the fundamental and universal rights of the Cuban people… we have made it very clear that we have every intention of responding,” Gonzalez said.

The outcome of the showdown between the Cuban government and increasingly bold dissidents will likely dictate the Biden administration’s policy towards the island nation going forward, said William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University in Washington.

The Biden administration’s “hostile rhetoric and support for dissidents has led the Cuban government to give up on any hope of better relations with Washington,” LeoGrande said. “Ironically, that gives the Cuban government no incentive to treat the upcoming march or its organizers with tolerance.”

(Reporting by Marc Frank and Dave Sherwood, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Cuba struggles to keep the lights on given decrepit grid

By Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban state media said on Friday that the intermittent blackouts that have plagued the island since June are caused by an aging power infrastructure and lack of proper maintenance and cautioned that residents should be prepared for more in the coming months.

The power outages reflect a deepening economic crisis that began with harsh new U.S. sanctions in 2019 and worsened with the pandemic, exposing such vulnerabilities as a decaying infrastructure and dependence on foreign currency from tourism and remittances to purchase food, medicine, raw materials and spare parts.

“No one should think the problem will be solved quickly,” Energy and Mining Minister Livan Arronte Cruz was quoted as stating during a discussion of the power grid with other officials broadcast by state-run television on Thursday evening.

The participants said Cuban power plants averaged 35 years of age, with a backup system of hundreds of smaller generators at least 15 years old and that just 5% of power came from alternative energy sources.

The blackouts bring back memories of the post-Soviet depression of the 1990s, when lights were off more than they were on due to fuel shortages. Nowadays, the outages are not a daily occurrence, rarely last longer than four hours and are due to infrastructure failure.

The minister and other energy officials have appeared frequently to explain the power situation since a day of protests over living conditions swept the country on July 11, sparked in part by blackouts.

The government explanations offered on Thursday included how and why power outages were carried out, details on specific neighborhoods and how citizens can help by doing little things like turning off a single light or opening their refrigerators less often.

Cuba’s economy declined 10.9% last year and 2% through June this year compared with the same period in 2020, after years of stagnation.

Cubans have withstood more than 18 months of pandemic lockdowns, food and medicine shortages, long lines to purchase scarce goods, high prices and more. With tourism hurting and other vital sources of jobs and funds closed down, the blackouts have only added to the pain and frustration.

Edier Guzman Pacheco, director of power plants on the Communist-run Caribbean island, was quoted as stating during Thursday’s broadcast that the crisis meant funds were scarce for maintenance and that work on two new generators was delayed after suppliers canceled contracts due to new Trump-era U.S. sanctions. This, he said, was leading to lower than capacity output and frequent breakdowns.

“Of the 20 thermo generators in the country, 18 are overdue for light or partial maintenance and 16 capital maintenance,” he said.

Minister Arronte Cruz made no promises as the broadcast concluded except that residents would be kept informed. He said the country was doing everything it could under the circumstances to avoid blackouts and that there were plans in the medium to long term to increase capacity and alternative energy sources.

“No one should think we are doing this intentionally to annoy the people,” he said.

(Reporting by Marc Frank in Havana; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

One month after Cuba protests, hundreds remain behind bars

By Sarah Marsh

HAVANA (Reuters) – Hundreds of people, including dozens of dissident artists and opposition activists, remain detained in Communist-run Cuba a month after unprecedented anti-government protests, according to rights groups.

Thousands took to the streets nationwide on July 11 to protest a dire economic crisis and curbs on civil rights. The government said the unrest was fomented by counter-revolutionaries exploiting hardship caused largely by U.S. sanctions.

Rights group Cubalex has recorded around 800 detentions, a number that has risen daily as relatives come forward. Many are still too afraid to report the arrest of family members, said Cubalex director Laritza Diversent.

While 249 people have been released, many to house arrest, most remain in “preventative jail,” she said. The whereabouts of 10 people is unknown.

Dozens have already been sentenced to up to a year in prison or correctional work in summary trials, with simplified procedures and often without the chance of hiring a defense lawyer on time, said Diversent.

“The government’s aim is to make an example of those who protested, to stop others from doing the same,” she said.

The government did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Cuban authorities have not given a figure for the total number of detained in the recent unrest but say they have so far carried out trials for 62 people, 22 of which had hired a lawyer. All but one have been deemed guilty of crimes including public disorder, resisting arrest, and vandalism, they said.

The protests were largely peaceful, although state media showed some demonstrators looting and throwing stones at police. One person died and several people, including government supporters, were injured, authorities have confirmed.

Several of those sentenced were not protesting, but were caught up in the unrest, according to their relatives.

Yaquelin Salas, 35, says her husband intervened peacefully in the arrest of a woman, calling on police agents to not treat her so aggressively. Now he is serving a 10-month prison sentence on charges of public disorder after a collective trial in which just two of the 12 detained had lawyers.

“What they are doing is totally unfair,” said Salas.

Since Cuba’s 1959 revolution, authorities have tightly controlled public spaces, saying unity is key to resisting coup attempts by the United States, which has long openly sought to force political change through sanctions and democracy initiatives. The White House has said it will do what it can to support Cuban protesters.

FAMILIES ‘SILENCED’

Gabriela Zequeira, 17, one of several minors detained in the protests, said she was sentenced to house arrest for eight months after being arrested while walking home from the hairdressers on July 11.

Upon her admission to jail, where she was kept 10 days incommunicado, she said she was required to put a finger in her vagina to show she was concealing nothing as part of a strip search. Officers kept interrupting her attempts to sleep and one officer made sexual taunts, she said in an interview.

The Cuban government initially said no minors had been detained, a statement later contradicted by state prosecutors.

Some relatives of those detained said authorities were pressuring them to stop speaking out.

“My family has been silenced,” said emigre Milagros Beirut from her home in Spain. She said four of her relatives in Havana and the eastern city of Guantanamo remained behind bars for protesting peacefully. “They’ve been told those detained will receive a stricter sentence if they say anything.”

Dozens of political activists and dissident artists were among the detained, including some who did not participate in the protests but appeared to have been arrested pre-emptively, said Diversent from Cubalex.

Jose Daniel Ferrer, the leader of Cuba’s largest opposition group, and Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, head of a dissident artists collective, were both arrested on their way to the protests before even arriving, according to their supporters.

Ferrer’s sister Ana Belkis Ferrer said the family had not been able to speak to or see him, a complaint of many relatives of those detained.

“We don’t know if he’s being beaten, if he’s well or not, whether or not he’s doing a hunger strike,” she said.

Another detained activist, Félix Navarro, 68, president of the Party for Democracy, was in hospital with COVID-19, said Diversent. Several of those detained have denounced unsanitary conditions in jail amid one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/coronavirus-surge-pushes-cubas-healthcare-system-brink-2021-08-11 in the world.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Reuters TV in Havana, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Coronavirus surge pushes Cuba’s healthcare system to brink

By Sarah Marsh

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba is bringing back hundreds of doctors working abroad and converting hotels into isolation centers and hospitals in order to battle a COVID-19 crisis that is overwhelming healthcare and mortuary services in parts of the Caribbean island.

The country, which managed to contain infections for most of last year, is now facing one of the worst outbreaks worldwide, fueled by the spread of the more-infectious Delta variant, even as it races to vaccinate its population.

Cuba’s rolling seven-day average of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surged eightfold within two months to 5,639 per million inhabitants, ten times the world average.

One in five tests are positive, four times the benchmark 5% positivity rate cited by the World Health Organization. The seven-day average for confirmed COVID-19 deaths is around 52 per million inhabitants, six times the world average, although the real number could be much higher accounting for potentially undiagnosed cases.

The COVID-19 surge has come amid Cuba’s worst economic crisis in decades that had already resulted in medicine shortages and long queues for scarce goods that made implementing lockdowns tricky.

The predicament has come as a shock to some in the Communist-run country where the right to public healthcare is considered sacrosanct.

“I witnessed queues of more than 20 hours, people dying in the corridors (of the polyclinic),” wrote Ana Iris Diaz, a professor at the university of the central Cuban city of Santa Clara and self-professed “revolutionary”, in a Facebook post that went viral this week.

“I saw an elderly woman die after several hours of waiting and four days without an antigen test or PCR. Simply put, I saw what I would have hoped to never see: the collapse of our health system.”

Cuba’s Communist government did not reply to a request for comment. It has denounced the United States for tightening sanctions, saying this has also slowed down its vaccine rollout due to the difficulty of acquiring inputs. Critics blame more Cuba’s inefficient state-run economy.

“We are at the limit of our capacity for infrastructure, resources, medicine and oxygen,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel told a government meeting on COVID-19 on Monday.

INCINERATOR BREAKS UNDER STRAIN

Cuba was a COVID-19 success story last year, managing to contain the outbreak, dispatching doctors all over the globe to help and even developing its own vaccines, which it started applying in recent months.

Deaths in Cuba since the start of the pandemic are still only a half of the global average, according to official data.

The death toll is rising fast though.

In the eastern province of Guantanamo, artist Daniel Ross said a 30-year-old friend of his who caught COVID-19 had recently died due to a lack of medicines and oxygen.

“Here, we fight COVID-19 with Azitromicina, which costs 16 pesos usually in the pharmacy, but they haven’t had any for months now,” he said, adding that the cost had surged to 3600 pesos, equivalent to $150 on the black market.

Also infected and struggling to breathe, he said he was doing inhalations with yagruma leaves but sometimes could not even heat water because of the power outages that have become more frequent lately.

Ihosvany Fernandez, director of communal services in the province of Guantanamo, said on local television that total deaths there, from any cause, had surged at the start of the month to more than 60 per day from around 12 on average usually.

Official data show no more than 10 COVID-19 death daily in Guantanamo for those days suggesting underreporting in deaths from the respiratory disease.

One of the province’s incinerators had broken down due to overuse, said Fernandez, so they were installing another and using a variety of state vehicles to transport the corpses given insufficient hearses.

So far, a quarter of Cuba’s 11.2 million inhabitants have been inoculated with its two most advanced vaccines that officials say have proven more than 90% effective in phase three trials.

In one bright spot, the case-fatality rate in Havana, where nearly two thirds of the population has now been fully inoculated, was just 0.69 % compared to 0.93% for the rest of the country in the first week of August, according to official data, suggesting the shots are working.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh in Havana; Additional Reporting by Nelson Acosta in Havana; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Latin America’s resurgent left and Caribbean spurn U.S. policy on Cuba

By Sarah Marsh

HAVANA (Reuters) – The United States doubled down on its tough stance and sanctions on Cuba after historic protests in the Communist-run island last month and said it would seek to support protesters.

But many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region which is still scarred by Washington’s backing of coups during the Cold War and has shifted leftwards in recent years, are asking it to back off instead.

President Joe Biden branded Cuba a “failed state” in the wake of the July 11-12 protests over an economic crisis and curbs on freedoms. His administration imposed new sanctions on those who cracked down on protesters and promised the politically important Cuban-American community more actions were coming, like efforts to help Cubans circumvent “censorship”.

While the fresh sanctions are largely symbolic, they suggest a return to a period of détente under former President Barack Obama is not forthcoming.

The right-wing governments of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Honduras joined the United States last week in issuing a statement condemning mass arrests and calling for full restoration of disrupted internet access.

Yet only 20 foreign ministers worldwide joined in signing the letter, signaling how relatively isolated Washington is on its Cuba policy, analysts said. Even U.S. allies like Canada who have condemned the Cuban crackdown and supported protesters’ right to freedom of expression did not sign.

Meanwhile, Cuba’s leftist allies in Latin America and fellow Caribbean island nations have focused their reaction on the contribution of the U.S. embargo to the country’s current humanitarian crisis, urging Washington to lift sanctions. Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia have sent aid.

Some countries in the region have also warned against U.S. meddling in Cuba’s domestic matters.

These regional divisions came to the fore last week when the Organization of American States had to postpone a meeting on the human rights situation in Cuba due to objections by more than a dozen member states.

“Any discussion could only satisfy political hawks with an eye on U.S. mid-term elections where winning South Florida with the backing of Cuban exiles would be a prize,” wrote Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the OAS, Ronald Sanders, in a column published on digital platform Caribbean News Global.

“The task of the OAS should be to promote peaceful and cooperative relations in the hemisphere, not to feed division and conflict.”

He had sent a letter on behalf of 13 countries from the Caribbean Community or CARICOM – which though small, represents a significant voting block in the OAS – urging the body to reconsider the “unproductive” meeting, while other countries sent similar missives.

REJECTION OF OAS, FOREIGN MEDDLING

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said last month the OAS should be replaced “by a body that is truly autonomous, not anybody’s lackey”, sentiments echoed by Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez.

He also said he thought Biden must make a decision about the embargo against Cuba given that “almost all countries of the world” are against it, while Fernandez said it was up to no other country to decide what Cubans should do.

Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia all shifted left in recent years, while Peru last month voted in a socialist leader and Chile and Brazil appear poised to move to the left in elections due this year and next.

“We appreciate countries that defended the Latin American and Caribbean dignity,” said Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, who has accused U.S.-backed counterrevolutionaries of being behind the protests following years of open U.S. funding of democracy programs on the island.

The Chair of the OAS Permanent Council described the objections to the Cuba meeting as particularly unusual.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said it was “deeply disappointed” the OAS meeting did not take place, adding: “The people of the Americas have a right to hear from the Inter-American Commission on Human rights about the situation in Cuba”.

“We will continue to work within the OAS to press for democracy and human rights in Cuba and throughout the Americas and are confident this informational meeting will indeed take place in the coming days.”

William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University in Washington, said the problem was the OAS had under Secretary-General Luis Almagro “adopted a strident partisan stance totally aligned with U.S. policy”.

Biden was inheriting a regional foreign policy from former U.S. President Donald Trump focused mainly on Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, that had alienated much of Latin America, said LeoGrande, pointing out the Latin barometer opinion poll showed a sharp decline in the image of the United States.

The OAS General Secretariat declined to comment while the State Department spokesperson said “Almagro’s leadership in supporting democracy and respect for human rights in the Americas” had returned the OAS to its original purpose.

Biden, a Democrat, had vowed during his presidential campaign to ease some of the sanctions on Cuba tightened by his predecessor Donald Trump, a Republican, raising hopes of a return to the Obama-era détente.

But analysts say the protests have complicated his leeway to do so, especially after he made a poorer-than-expected showing with voters in south Florida’s anti-communist Cuban-American community, which backed Trump’s tough policies toward Havana and helped him win the presidential election battleground state.

The Democratic National Committee last week launched a digital ad campaign in Florida highlighting Biden’s “commitment to the Cuban people and condemnation of communism as a failed system.”

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Additional Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Alistair Bell)

COVID still devastating in the Americas, health agency says

BRASILIA (Reuters) -COVID-19 continues to inflict a devastating toll on the Americas, with Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Paraguay among the countries with the world’s highest weekly death rates, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

Cases have more than doubled in the United States over the past week, mainly among unvaccinated people, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said in a briefing.

The more transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus has been detected in 20 of the 35 countries in the Americas already, she said.

Cuba is seeing higher COVID infection and death rates than at any other point in the pandemic there, she said, adding that more than 7,000 minors and nearly 400 pregnant women have tested positive there in the last week.

Over the last week there were over 1.26 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 29,000 deaths reported in the Americas.

Infection hotspots have been reported in Argentine provinces bordering Bolivia and Chile, and in Colombia’s Amazon region.

“As COVID continues to circulate, too many places have relaxed the public health and social measures that have proven effective against this virus,” Etienne said.

So far, only 16.6% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as countries in the regions have yet to access the vaccines needed to keep their people safe, she said.

“The good news is that vaccines work against the variants, including Delta, in terms of preventing severe disease and death. The bad news is that we do not have yet enough vaccines to stop community transmission,” Etienne said.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Sandra Maler)