by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Imayasil Campoalegre, 47, lives with her elderly mother and adolescent son at a two-bedroom apartment in Havana's Arroyo Naranjo district. She has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures at home, going out only to buy food and other daily necessities.
Like Campoalegre, many Havana residents have intensified their precautionary efforts as lockdown restrictions have been reimposed in the city which saw a surge in new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
Campoalegre, a private sector employee, said that returning to normal life is important for her because the crisis has had an impact on people's lives.
"I do not want to see stores closed and public transportation canceled once more. We need to work hard to save Havana from becoming a ghost city due to a second outbreak," she told Xinhua. "Even though the situation is getting complex, I believe local authorities can successfully manage it with our help."
In Havana, the new epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic with 1,559 cases, a night-time curfew starting at 11 p.m. will be imposed in the coming days, according to the Cuban government.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in the island in March, a total of 2,829 cases have been reported with 88 deaths.
Cubans have been urged to abide by social distancing requirements and adopt a responsible behavior as the country has implemented a phased recovery plan.
"If we are not able to slow the spread of the disease, we will return to the pandemic phase," Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said on state TV.
As part of a government plan, transportation and urban mobility will be until 11:00 p.m., while the hours of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs were also restricted until 9:00 p.m. Public transportation between Havana and nearby provinces will be limited to essential services.
"We are on the brink of a second outbreak, which can be reversed if we act with discipline," said Jose Antonio Torres Iribar, president of the provincial defense council in Havana, adding that "a lack of risk perception is perceived among citizens."
Havana started to ease its three-month lockdown restrictions in early July. Since then, thousands of people have flocked to beaches and seaside hotels across the country.
Francisco Duran, national director of epidemiology at the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, said that nearly 61 percent of COVID-19 cases in the country are asymptomatic while 323 patients under 20 years old have tested positive for the virus.
Health authorities said that no fewer than 2,400 tests are carried out every day in Havana's hardest-hit areas where doctors and nurses are going door-to-door in search of suspected cases.
So far, 195 health workers in Havana have tested positive for the virus. Among them is Livan Lopez, 25, a Cuban nurse who contracted the virus while working.
"The novel coronavirus is very contagious and has caused me lasting lung damage. People who do not comply with social distancing requirements are risking their lives," Lopez said.
"We should not let our guard down," he stressed.