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Cuba declares coronavirus pandemic 'under control'

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Havana (AFP)

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has declared the coronavirus pandemic "under control" after the island nation registered an eighth straight day without a death from COVID-19.

It paves the way for an announcement next week on Cuba's strategy to gradually lift its lockdown.

The country of 11.2 million has recorded just under 2,200 cases and 83 deaths from the virus.

With 1,862 people having recovered, Cuba has only 244 active cases.

However, Diaz-Canel said the country could not become complacent given a spate of new infections since May 28.

"This was a week in which the number of active cases and the number of daily cases increased in comparison to the previous weeks in which, as already announced, we were at the tail end of this epidemic," he said on Saturday.

"We need to keep focusing on how we're going to eliminate the residues that remain, especially those associated with the incompetence or poor functioning of any institution, which give rise to events that can provoke a rebound," he added.

In any case, next week "we will be able to inform the people about how we will approach this phase and when we can do so."

Schools and borders remain closed, public transport has been suspended and the wearing of masks in public is mandatory.

But with an economy largely dependent on tourism and external trade, and crippled by a six decades-long US embargo, Cuba can ill afford to remain in lockdown for much longer.

Lockdown has worsened the social situation for millions of Cubans in a country that was already suffering from food and fuel shortages.

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