by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Cuban government is speeding up the pace of the COVID-19 immunization campaign to slow the spread of the virus across the country.
The Caribbean nation has seen a new increase in infections after the Delta variant of COVID-19 reversed the trend of declining cases this week.
According to data shown by the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, the island recorded 9,221 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, up by 1,367 from a day earlier.
On Sunday, the majority of cases in Cuba were reported in the easternmost province of Pinar del Rio (1,531), followed by Holguin (1,172) and Sancti Spiritus (905).
Francisco Duran, national director of hygiene and epidemiology at the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, said that the COVID-19 transmission rates remain elevated nationwide, except the Isle of Youth special municipality.
"I have no doubt that we will tackle the sanitary emergency but more discipline and self-responsibility is required to reduce the risk of contagion with the virus," he told local media.
So far, 5.7 million people, or about 51 percent of people aged 19 and above in Cuba, have received the first dose of vaccines.
Cuba's health authorities said that another 5 million people will be vaccinated with locally made vaccines through September.
The government is projected to have vaccinated 92.6 percent of the country's 11 million population by November this year.
In addition, those aged two years old to 18 will be administered three doses of the locally made vaccines during the coming weeks as part of the ongoing national vaccination drive for kids.
Cuban Health Minister Jose Angel Portal said that more than 115,000 kids had contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic on the island in March 2020.
This is "a significant step to advance the country's immunization strategy (against COVID-19) and protect our children and adolescents as soon as possible," he said.
Consequently, in-person classes were postponed until children get vaccinated and the epidemiological situation in Cuba improves.
Nationwide, partial lockdown measures remain in place, including a nighttime curfew, the closure of cultural centers and sports facilities as well as hotel quarantine for international travelers.
Meanwhile, the country's main medical oxygen factory, which had broken down in recent weeks, restarted operations as a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to strain hospitals and isolation centers.
At present, there are 37,012 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Cuba, with 421 receiving medical treatment in intensive care units. Enditem