Tue, 03 Oct 2023

by Yosley Carrero

HAVANA, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- For Ouyang Chaofan, a Chinese PhD student at the University of Havana, life is gradually returning to normal as the island nation continues to ease coronavirus lockdown measures.

Ouyang expects to become a Spanish language interpreter or a teacher in the near future after returning to China.

"It is good to know that students are back to university campuses," he said. "Learning Spanish is important for Chinese young people because the relations between China and Latin America have grown significantly over the past few years."

Just months before the pandemic first hit the island country in March 2020, he, along with some other Chinese students, rented a house in Havana's Nuevo Vedado district.

They spend several hours a day conducting research amid the new challenges posed by the coronavirus emergency, according to Chinese PhD student Yu Xin.

"My research has entered its final stage. So, I usually meet my supervisor to get clarification about different topics," she said.

Universities in Cuba reopened for in-person classes in early November abiding by mask mandates and coronavirus protocols.

The numbers of daily coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations on the island have steadily declined in the past nine weeks as the COVID-19 immunization with home-grown vaccines wraps up.

Cuba has already vaccinated more than 80 percent of its population of around 11 million against the coronavirus, including those aged between 2-18.

On Wednesday, the Caribbean nation registered 182 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one more related death, taking its total caseload to 961,458 and national death toll to 8,299.

Chinese PhD student Li Jiao said they had once again sat on Havana's seawall Malecon and attended cultural events as the country eased its lockdown.

"We will continue to adopt all necessary measures to reduce the potential risk of exposure to the virus," she said. "We have gone through a complex but unforgettable experience hand in hand with Cubans."

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