Cuba is welcoming foreign tourists again after an eight-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the cash-strapped country will struggle to woo back wary and financially depleted travellers. Cayman residents who enjoy visiting Cuba will grab the opportunity, reassured that COVID-19 testing and protocols are strictly adhered to.
Tourism chiefs are banking on the island's track record of keeping the virus in check to win back holidaymakers.
With its timeless Caribbean charm, the UNESCO World Heritage city attracted 4.2 million tourists in 2019 but it will be about a fifth of that this year.
Unlike other countries Cuba doesn't require that visitors do a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test prior to arrival and entry is not subject to those able to provide a negative PCR test upon arrival. But it is mandatory that visitors do the test as soon as they land there. Costs of the tests are included in the air ticket.
All travellers to Cuba are also required to submit a sanitary declaration, a form they must fill out on the plane just before landing.
Having adequate travel health insurance has always been mandatory for travellers to Cuba and all policies must now offer COVID-19 related coverage. Alternatively, you will be offered to buy health insurance upon arrival, also at the airport, for US$30.
Quarantine is not established at this point nor required for any traveller but limiting contact with others is recommended until the result of the test is ready.
When staying in Cuba hotels, guests won't experience any kind of restrictions during their stay except when using any means of local transport, where wearing face masks is mandatory. Following hygiene rules, frequent hand washing or sanitising, social distancing and wearing face masks when using transport and in closed spaces is recommended. All Cuba hotels now have a specialised in-house medical team made up of a general practitioner, an epidemiologist and nurses to guarantee early detection upon any suspicion of COVID-19 infection.
The results of the PCR test taken upon arrival to Cuba will be ready within the first 24 hours which means that holidaymakers will be immediately notified through the appropriate health and tourism authorities.
Travellers that have tested positive and who begin experiencing symptoms during their Cuba stay will be taken to a medical facility unit, a nearby hospital with a highly skilled and specialised medical team as well as the necessary medical equipment to guarantee a speedy recovery.
Asymptomatic travellers will be put in isolation within specialised hotel facilities converted into hospitals. Anyone who has come into contact with the traveller or travellers that have tested positive will be immediately put in isolation within the hotel under special protection and surveillance, they cannot come into contact with the rest of the hotel guests until the results of a second PCR test are obtained, on the fifth day. The costs of all medical expenses will be covered by the traveller's health insurance, whether obtained in Cuba or their country of origin.