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国际英语新闻:Feature: Partying moves online in Cuba amid COVID-19 outbreak

Source: Xinhuanet    2020-03-24  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

HAVANA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Yasmany Quintero, 16, is a typical adolescent eagerly planning his upcoming birthday party in the Vibora Park district of Cuba's capital Havana, where he lives with his mother and grandmother.

But he is about to have a very atypical celebration amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has led authorities to urge people to stay at home and avoid socializing in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.

"Me and my friends will meet at a certain time on social media to enjoy an online karaoke session," instead of going out as originally planned, Quintero told Xinhua by phone.

"This party will be nothing like the ones before," he added.

As public events are canceled or postponed, Cubans with internet access -- which account for more than 50 percent of the country's 11 million inhabitants -- are turning to online platforms to keep in touch or be entertained, according to Cuba's Ministry of Communications.

"We have sold a huge number of prepaid internet cards so far in March," said Yalile Rivero, a sales clerk for Cuba's state telecommunications company in Havana.

"Many people living in densely populated areas are avoiding physical contact," she added.

Cubans can even supply their online parties with live music, as local musicians have joined a global initiative to live stream performances for the benefit of people around the world sheltering in place.

Cuban salsa musician Alexander Abreu is among them.

"I wanted to make a positive contribution to the current state of affairs caused by the coronavirus outbreak," Abreu told local media.

Yamile Perez, 26, runs a salsa academy in Havana's historical downtown area. She believes people need to be creative about the way they use their time while in self-isolation.

"I hold an online party twice a week by giving interactive classes to foreign students who, thanks to music, feel they are not alone. It serves as a de-stressing therapy. The time for proximity and face-to-face contact will come back," she said by phone.

Like countries throughout Latin America, Cuba is urging people to practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.

"Cuba's control and prevention plan against COVID-19 includes stepping up measures to avoid mass gatherings," said Jose Raul de Armas, a senior official at the Cuban Ministry of Public Health.

For gregarious Cubans enamored of concerts, dances, celebrations, parties and family reunions, putting the breaks on socializing isn't easy to do. Fortunately, online parties like young Yasmany's are helping to fill the void.


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