From muscle-memory alone, Havana is music and dance. My hips involuntarily wiggle thinking of rumba freestyled along the Malecon, my stride quickens to the tempo of energetic reggaeton, I flex my toes en pointe, madam’s instructions to her pupils to grande jeté and the like – commands that seeped through the louvre shutters of the ballet school and into a room I once rented in Hotel Inglaterra. Son, jazz, reggaeton, salsa, rumba, classical – insatiable La Habana. Yet for now during Cuba’s second Covid-19 wave, the city has lost is rhythmic mojo. All looked promising for Cuba back on November 15. They opened to international arrivals after six months of lockdown, only to experience a surge in cases, possibly imported by Floridian exiles during Christmas. Havana returned to lockdown on January 10, requiring arrivals to take a PCR test, then quarantine for five days. I came to research news stories about this lockdown and the imminence of a homegrown vaccine, yet found myself in a financial meltdown orchestrated by the communist government’s sharp shock of economic ‘liberalisation’ (although few Habaneros believes the regime is about to embrace capitalism any time soon). Citywide, nightlife is curtailed by a 9pm curfew. No restaurants or bars are open, just takeaways, and my goodness, Cuban pizzas are awful. Facemasks are compulsory on the streets. Exuberant hugs and kisses have been replaced by fist bumps. Even the gas-guzzling classic automobiles are parked up. “With no tourists, I can’t afford to put gas in the tank,” shrugs Luis, buffing the chrome of his 1950s grass-green Buick convertible down a side street.