Published on : Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Cuba will open its borders and ease entry requirements next month after vaccinating most of its people with home-grown COVID-19 drugs allowing it to welcome back overseas visitors and giving a shot in the arm to its ailing tourist industry.
Tough restrictions due to the pandemic, a drastic reduction in flights to Cuba, and a U.S. ban on most travel to the Communist-run island under former U.S. President Donald Trump have hobbled the business.
But as Nov. 15, Cuba will only require visitors to carry proof of vaccination or a recent PCR to enter the country, replacing what were previously among the strictest protocols in the Caribbean, involving a quarantine period and multiple PCR tests.
A fully vaccinated population will prove a key selling point for an island already well-regarded for its safety, beaches and turquoise waters.
Cuba will be one of the safest sanitary destinations and we believe that we can reach visitations similar to 2019 by the end of next year, he said.
Cuba’s home-grown vaccines are currently under review by the World Health Organization and most trial data has yet to be peer reviewed.
But among countries with more than 1 million people, Cuba is vaccinating faster than any other, according to an official data. The government says the pace is paying dividends, with COVID-19 cases and deaths falling off at least 80% since their peak mid-summer.
At least 90% of the population has received at least one dose of one of the country’s three-dose homegrown vaccines.
Tourism Minister Juan Carlos Garcia said this month that the people are in a favorable moment as they began to recover their customs, to be able to visit relatives and go on vacation, as well as improve economic activity.
The pandemic closed schools, entertainment venues and restaurants as it reduced to near zero the all-important tourism industry, freezing foreign trips by Cubans and visits to the country from Cubans living overseas- exacerbating an economic crisis that has left residents short of food and medicine.