Radio Cadena Agramonte
Friday, March 5, 2021
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Hotel Plaza: isolation for life



Camagüey, Feb. 20.- He accepts that this brief quarantine is necessary; while she anxiously waits for the reunion with her relatives in Nuevitas, whom she has not seen for over a year, but "it is necessary to take care of yourself, for the good of all."

Dimitri Saltafera, from Greece; and Delgis Pérez, a Cuban living abroad, are two of the "guests" that the Plaza Hotel in the city of Camagüey has today. For various reasons they arrived on the island, but contact with family and friends must wait about five days.

They comply with the isolation protocol for travelers from abroad, as a measure implemented in Cuba to contain the rise of Covid-19, and express their agreement with the food and comfort services in the rooms, such as cable television, climate and everything that the client demands. Accommodation prices and quality standards meet their expectations, assured the interviewee through the telephone line, since the total stay in the rooms is established, which no one can enter and from which no one leaves.

In context: Taking into account the national, regional and international epidemiological situation and the need to apply new measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 cases in Cuba, it was decided, as of 00:00 on February 6, 2021, implement institutional isolation upon arrival of international travelers.

The isolation of Cuban residents will be in centers set up in the provinces and will be free of cost, as well as transportation to the center and the return to their residence once the isolation is completed.

In the case of foreigners and non-resident Cubans who arrive in the country, they will be isolated in designated hotel facilities in each territory, with travelers assuming the costs of stay and transportation. (Website of the Ministry of Public Health) 

 

Only authorized health personnel, a doctor and a nurse, with all means of protection, visit once a day, and on six occasions they take the temperature of the guests. Dr. Libia Perpiñán Lluesma, a specialist in Comprehensive General Medicine at the Cuban Medical Services Branch, knows that those actions that involve necessary risks, even when measures are taken, are what make surveillance effective and allow them to detect any symptoms early and activate the protocols that apply.

Although travelers arrive at the center after a first negative PCR requested to travel and another upon arrival at the airport, if any symptoms appear during their stay, or if the third PCR, which is performed on the fifth day of their arrival in the country, results positive, they go to the care system provided for it. Otherwise, the stay at the hotel ends in a happy reunion with the family, with the guarantee of well-being for all.

Until the time of a press team's visit to Plaza, of the Islazul chain, 57 travelers had already stayed, coming from Spain, Russia, Italy, Germany and Brazil; as well as Cubans from the province of Camaguey, Las Tunas and Granma, said Merlin Álvarez González, director of the facility.

Even though they received the necessary training and have the necessary means of protection, the new mission of workers in the tourism sector has been a challenge, and it is certainly inevitable that they are fearful, “because it is a disease that cannot be seen, and that is why we take all the measurements. If we take care of ourselves, there is no reason to get sick”, he confirmed.

The young Adairys González Fernández is aware of this, who at the reception receives the client, from the agreed distance with a mark on the floor and the paraban that complements the protection that she has with gloves, a mask. “Neither alcohol nor disinfectants are lacking. "These clothes (uniform) that I am wearing I must take them off before going out, I put on my own and when I get home I bathe and try to maintain minimal contact with the family, especially by phone, with my parents."

Meanwhile, although Teresa Ramos had already performed a similar role in the Hotel Puerto Príncipe, now she is still shocked, much less taking care of herself. With 30 years in the tourism sector, she is a room maid, and in the red zone, she is extremely careful when cleaning and with the rest of her duties. "I have a daughter and grandchildren, no one wants to get sick or bring the disease home, but I am aware of the importance of what I do, and that is why I take on my responsibility," he says with the confidence that the years give him. Inside the red zone everything is well defined: the waitresses work 24-hour shifts and have a room that serves as a filter, considered a clean zone. There is no crossover between the different areas of the Hotel. There is no possibility of an unfortunate event happening, confirms Álvarez González.

Converted into a center of isolation for travelers from abroad, the Hotel Plaza is today an important barrier to contain the advance of Covid-19 in Camagüey. Its workers also save lives from their usual functions of hotels and tourism, without neglecting their own health. (Text and photos: Dania Díaz Socarrás and Juan Mendoza Medina / Radio Cadena Agramonte)