Authorities announced on Wednesday, September 30, that they would be lifting the curfew and partial lockdown in Havana after the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had dropped. The ban on movement and vehicles at night, the restrictions on movement of public and private transport, and the restrictions on the movement between municipalities, implemented on September 1 in efforts to contain the spread of the virus, are set to be removed.
Some commercial activities will be permitted from Thursday, October 1, with residents in Havana permitted to visit beaches and swimming pools, and shops in neighbouring districts. Cafes, restaurants, and other eateries will resume normal operating hours at a 60 percent capacity. Public transportation will resume in Havana on Saturday, October 3. Face masks must be worn when in public and on public transport and a minimum of 1 m (3 ft) interpersonal distance should be observed. Bars and clubs will remain closed. Interprovincial trips remain restricted to cargo and essential supplies or extraordinary cases. Schools are set to reopen in November.
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. Those permitted to enter Cuba will be screened and tested on arrival and will be required to quarantine for 14 days at a government facility.
As of October 1, there have been 5670 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cuba with 122 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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