The promise of golden sandy beaches for wealthy tourists … and a way out of the crisis for the island? Cuba will gradually reopen its borders to tourists from November 15, without requiring PCR tests on arrival as it currently does, in order to revive vital economic activity for the island, the Ministry of Tourism announced on Monday.
Hope to have vaccinated 90% of the vaccinated population
“Given the progress of the vaccination process in Cuba, its proven effectiveness and the prospect that more than 90% of the population will be fully vaccinated in November, we are preparing the conditions to gradually open the country’s borders from the November 15, ”the ministry said in a press release.
For many months, the number of flights arriving in Cuba has been very limited and only a few Russian and Canadian tourist charters regularly arrive in certain resorts in the country reserved for this purpose.
Authorities are requiring travelers to arrive with a negative PCR test, then take a new one at the airport on arrival and be in quarantine until the results of a second test carried out five days later.
The PCR will no longer be required on arrival
With the complete reopening of the borders, “the hygienic and sanitary protocols on the arrival of travelers will be relaxed, with monitoring of symptomatic patients and temperature taking,” the ministry said on Monday.
“In addition, diagnostic tests will be carried out randomly, the PCR will not be required on arrival and the travelers’ vaccination certificate will be recognized,” he adds.
Food and medicine shortages for Cubans
Tourism, one of the Cuban government’s main sources of foreign currency, collapsed with the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the island to partially close its borders since late March 2020. Between January and July, the country hosted 270,639 foreign tourists, barely a quarter (21.8%) of arrivals over the same period of 2020 (1,239,099).
Deprived of foreign currency from tourism, the authorities drastically reduced the country’s imports, exacerbating food and medicine shortages for Cubans.
Vaccines made in Cuba
The country has developed its own vaccines against the coronavirus, Abdala and Soberana, and hopes to have vaccinated 92.6% of the population by November, up from around a third currently.
Faced with a sharp rise in cases for months, he also launched a vaccination campaign for children and adolescents from two to 18 years old, a condition he set to reopen schools.
Not recognized by the WHO, Cuban vaccines are based on a recombinant protein, the same technique on which the American company Novavax and the French Sanofi are working.