by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The numbers of daily COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in Cuba continue to decline amid the government's efforts to slow the spread of the pandemic.
On Sunday, the Caribbean nation added 4,097 new coronavirus cases and 46 deaths, marking the country's lowest daily numbers of COVID-19 infections and fatalities since July.
At present, there are 23,832 active cases of coronavirus on the island, with 358 patients in intensive care units, according to the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.
Francisco Duran, national director of epidemiology at the ministry, urged people to follow coronavirus guidelines despite the decline of daily cases and deaths in September compared with August.
"We are seeing a downward trend in all indicators, but the numbers of coronavirus cases and related deaths are still high," he said, adding that the strict following of health protocols is essential to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic in Cuba.
The westernmost Cuban province of Pinar del Rio, the epicenter of the health emergency on the island, registered 21,289 confirmed cases of coronavirus over the past two weeks, followed by Camaguey (11,331) and Sancti Spiritus (11,217).
Meanwhile, in Havana, the country's most populous city with 2 million inhabitants, new infections have dropped from 1,900 per day to around 300 over the past eight weeks.
So far, more than 80 percent of Cubans have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the ministry.
By November this year, Cuba expects to have vaccinated more than 90 percent of its 11 million inhabitants, including children and adolescents aged 2-18.
Across seven of the country's 15 provinces and the Isla de la Juventud special municipality, restaurants, bars, and cafeterias have resumed indoor service after the Cuban government started to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
In addition, beaches in Havana have been opened after the easing of nine months of restrictions, and gyms and swimming pools have been opened at 50 percent capacity.
The Caribbean nation will also gradually begin to reopen schools, with high school seniors resuming in-person classes on Monday.
According to the Cuban Ministry of Tourism, Cuba will relax pandemic border control measures for incoming travelers from Nov. 15.
Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero voiced confidence in the start of the island's tourism high season, which runs from November to March.
"The tourism industry is a priority to meet the (Cuban) population's needs on all fronts," he said during a meeting in Varadero, the country's most popular seaside resort. Enditem