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19 Jun 2020 | 04:14 PM UTC

Cuba: Authorities begin easing of COVID-19 restrictions June 18 /update 8

Cuba News Alert

Cuban authorities begin easing of COVID-19 restrictions on June 18; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/19/2020, 12:00 AM until 7/31/2020, 11:59 PM (America/Havana). COUNTRY/REGION Cuba

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The Cuban government has set out its progressive reopening plan with three recovery phases which will determine when and how coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions will gradually be lifted across the country in the coming weeks and months. On Tuesday, June 16, the government announced that all provinces, except Havana and Matanzas, will be in phase 1 of recovery from Thursday, June 18. Authorities have not yet set a date for when either Havana or Matanzas will enter phase 1.

Provinces in phase 1 will be able to reopen restaurants, bars, gyms, swimming pools, and beaches with limits on capacity and social distancing measures in place. Public and private transport services that were suspended nationwide in April may resume operations, with only passengers allowed at terminals. Inter-provincial travel, vehicle rentals, and entry/exit to and from Havana and Matanzas remains restricted. Limits on the number of passengers in order to observe social distancing measures will also apply on public transportation. The wearing of wear face masks in public places remains mandatory, including in vehicles. Individuals are required to maintain a minimum of one-meter interpersonal distance in public.

Foreign nationals traveling on charter flights will be allowed entry to limited destinations (Cayos) to take holidays from July 1, as part of recovery phase 2. Reports suggest that all travelers will be subject to temperature and COVID-19 PCR tests upon arrival at Jardines del Rey (CCC) or Santa Clara (SNU) airports, before they transfer to resorts in Cayo Coco, Caya Cruz, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa Maria, or Cayo Largo del Sur. Additional easing of restrictions will likely to be announced for phase 2 in the coming weeks.

In Havana and Matanzas which are yet to enter phase 1, individuals are required to wear face masks in public, including within vehicles. The one-meter social distancing rule also applies to all individuals. Those in the provinces continue to be advised not to leave their accommodation except for essential reasons. All non-essential businesses and entertainment venues remain closed. Restaurants and bars are restricted to offering take away/delivery services. Tourists are permitted to move around for essential trips only in officially authorized and licensed transport. Urban transport services may operate essential services only and fewer passengers are permitted to travel in vehicles. Private taxi services remain suspended. A heightened police presence remains in shops and public areas to ensure restrictions are adhered to.

As of Friday, June 19, there are 2305 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cuba with 85 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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