Cuban authorities announced on Saturday, September 12, that the additional measures introduced earlier in the month to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be extended until at least October 1. Interprovincial trips remain prohibited, with the exception of cargo and essential supplies, and the curfew in Havana between the hours of 19:00 and 05:00 (local time) has been extended for a further two weeks.
Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) continues to operate for humanitarian and repatriation flights for Cuban nationals and foreign nationals with valid permanent residency visas or permits, with those arriving being required to quarantine for 14 days at a government facility. Nonessential domestic business trips will be suspended for a period of 15 days.
Face masks must be worn at all times when in public and on public transport and a minimum of 1m (3 ft) interpersonal distance should be observed. Cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as social clubs, gyms, museums, swimming pools, beaches, and churches, have reopened with limited opening hours and limitations on the number of customers/guests.
As of September 12, there have been 4653 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cuba with 108 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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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