Published on : Saturday, October 10, 2020
Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said that most of the Caribbean island nation would reopen for international tourism from next week, moving towards a “new normality” after successfully restricting its corona virus outbreak.
Cuba shut down its borders six months ago for limiting the spread of the virus. Now the country is gradually opening up to tourism before the November-March high season, first in the northern keys and then its Varadero beach resort.
Thirteen of Cuba’s sixteen provinces will now be open to tourism, said Marrero, although not yet its capital Havana, which only recently has curbed a second wave of infections with strict measures, including a curfew.
International tourism is one of Cuba’s top hard currency generators; hence, its postponement this year affected the cash-strapped economy, even as the United States has continued to solidify its decades-old trade ban.
“We will open the possibility of international flights for all the provinces that are in this third phase,” Marrero said, specifying that all arrivals would be tested.
Cuba’s universal, community-based healthcare system has been able to limit the virus outbreak, reducing death cases by hospitalizing all confirmed cases, tracing and isolating their contacts and making use of therapeutic treatments.
Cuba has witnessed just 11 deaths from Covid-19 per million inhabitants, compared to 203 for the Dominican Republic and 647 for the United States, as per statistics from Johns Hopkins University.
From now on, Cuba will permit people to isolate at home, said Marrero.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel said that the country has learned to live with the virus, containing its second wave of infections better than the first and sharply lessening the mortality rate.