Saturday, October 16

Cuba will require a negative PCR for travelers arriving from January 1

Photograph showing a detail of a PCR test for covid-19.

Photograph showing a detail of a PCR test for covid-19.

Cuba will require all travelers entering the country as of January 1 to present a PCR test of coronavirus carried out at most 72 hours before the trip, the island’s Foreign Ministry reported this Thursday.

The measure coincides with a notable increase in daily infections since the reopening of Cuban airports in mid-October -one month after that of Havana-, with a marked incidence of imported cases and local infections related to contacts with travelers.

Cuba today marked a new record of daily cases with 217 new positives, 101 of them imported, and accumulates 10,717 people diagnosed with the disease since last March and 139 deaths.

According to a note published on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minrex), the decision responds to the international epidemiological situation associated with covid-19 and will be applied “without prejudice to the hygienic and sanitary measures already implemented in the Cuban borders.”

The current epidemiological surveillance protocol establishes that residents carry out two PCR tests upon arrival in the country: one at the same airport and another five days later. Travelers must stay in their home or accommodation until they have a negative result from the second test.

In the case of travelers who stay for less than five days in Cuban territory, a second diagnostic test is exempted, while tourists who stay in hotels are given a single test at the airport and subsequently are monitored by the medical team of the hotel complex.

In recent days the authorities have reinforced the messages in which they ask the population to comply with the protection measures, and especially when they have contact with people from abroad.

A good part of the contagion sources detected since the reopening of the Cuban borders, which remained closed for eight months, have been related to travelers who did not follow the isolation protocol, and with people who were in contact with them.

On the occasion of the end of the year festivities, it is common for hundreds of Cubans living abroad to return to celebrate them with their families. A high percentage comes from Florida, a state with one of the highest rates of infection in the United States.

Yesterday, the Corporación de la Aviación Cubana SA (Cacsa) issued a call to the population to refrain from going to the outside of the air terminals – inside only travelers access – in groups to wait or say goodbye to family or friends, and asked that only one person go to do it.

Since the beginning of December, the daily counts of the Minsap have registered an increase in covid infections that in the last week have not dropped below a hundred, dispersed in almost all Cuban provinces.

Havana, with 2.2 million inhabitants and whose airport is the main gateway to the island, is the territory that has concentrated the most cases in recent weeks, both autochthonous and imported.

Since last October 12, the vast majority of the island has been in a stage of “new normal” that allows the total activation of services and economic activities.

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