The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has criticised South Africa for accepting more than 200 Cuban medics to help battle coronavirus.
Mr Pompeo accused Cuba of profiting from the pandemic, the AFP news agency reports.
“We’ve noticed how the regime in Havana has taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to continue its exploitation of Cuban medical workers,” Mr Pompeo is quoted as telling reporters on Wednesday.
“We applaud leaders in Brazil and in Ecuador and Bolivia and other countries which have refused to turn a blind eye to these abuses by the Cuban regime and ask all countries to do the same, including places like South Africa and Qatar.”
The team of Cuban medics arrived in the African nation on Sunday night. They include family physicians, epidemiologists, biotechnology experts and health-care technology engineers.
They are to be deployed to different provinces by South Africa’s Department of Health, according to Cuba’s ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Verson.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel reacted to Mr Pompeo by tweeting: “The United States lie deliberately when they attack Cuba’s international medical cooperation with lies and slanders”.
The arrival of Cuban medics in South Africa has received mixed reactions, with the South African Medical Association (Sama) saying unemployed local medics should have been given priority.
The country has recorded 5,350 cases of coronavirus, including 103 deaths.