THE government praised Cuba today after the socialist country allowed coronavirus-stricken British cruise ship MS Braemar to dock in Havana.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab thanked the Cuban government after a number of other Caribbean countries, including the Bahamas and Barbados, refused.
The mainly British passengers, confined to ship for days, are now able to disembark and fly home thanks to Cuba’s decision.
In a ministerial statement to MPs, Mr Raab said: “We are very grateful to the Cuban government for swiftly enabling this operation and for their close co-operation to make sure it could be successful.”
Cuba has developed and produces a number of medicines including the anti-viral drug Interferon Alpha 2B, which could save thousands of lives in the pandemic.
The medicine has been produced in China in a Cuban-Chinese joint venture and so far has managed to effectively treat more than 1,500 coronavirus patients there.
Cuba Solidarity Campaign director Rob Miller said: “Cuba is now at the forefront of the international battle against coronavirus, and the wonderful humanitarian response to the plight of the passengers of the MS Braemar once again illustrates Cuba’s policies of internationalism and solidarity.
“At the same time it shines a light on the disastrous United States policy of aggression and blockade that hinders the ability of Cuban health professionals to assist in the worldwide battle against coronavirus.
“Cuba has experience, skills, medical personnel and medicines that could assist in the worldwide battle against coronavirus. It is imperative that the demand for an end to the US blockade is raised at this time.”
A Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said: “These are times of solidarity, of understanding health as a human right, of reinforcing international co-operation to face our common challenges.”