Cuba to relax pandemic restrictions for incoming travelers

HAVANA, Sept. 7th Cuba is set to relax pandemic border control measures for international passengers starting Nov. 15, the island’s Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) announced Monday on its website.

“The Caribbean nation will relax COVID-19 hygiene and sanitary protocols for incoming travellers,” the ministry said, adding new measures that will focus on monitoring symptomatic patients and temperature checks.

Cuba will no longer demand a PCR test upon arrival and COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued abroad will be accepted by customs authorities, Mintur said.

Additionally, the domestic tourism market will gradually reopen depending on the evolution of the pandemic in each region.

The decision to spur international tourism was made on the grounds that “more than 90 per cent of the country’s population is expected to be fully vaccinated by November,” the ministry said.

Cuba on Monday registered 7,230 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 85 related deaths in 24 hours, bringing the national total to 696,904 cases and 5,788 deaths, respectively.

The island resumed scheduled commercial flights in November 2020, when Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport restarted operations after having been closed for more than seven months due to the pandemic.

At present, international passengers who arrive on the island are required to quarantine either at hotel facilities allocated by the government or isolation centres.

In pre-pandemic times, the tourism industry in the Caribbean nation accounted for more than 10 per cent of Cuba’s hard currency earnings.

The tourist high season in Cuba runs from mid-November to April.