Facing a rising number of Covid-19 cases, Cuban authorities announced this week that they will limit flights from the United States and several other nations. The restrictions go into effect on January 1, 2021, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
Starting on January 10, according to a separate announcement, all travelers to Cuba must present the results of a negative Covid test administered within 72 hours before their arrival on the island.
Prior to reopening its airports to international travel in November, Cuba had been largely successful in containing the virus in the country. From November 1 to December 23, according to Cuban public health data, 3,782 Covid-19 cases were reported in the nation. Officials blamed the spread of the virus on Cubans returning from trips abroad or expatriates visiting their family members on the island while not adhering to government-mandated quarantine procedures. Cuban authorities claim that 71.5% of those Covid cases were due to visitors, or their direct contacts on the island.
On December 27, Cuba set a new daily record of 224 cases.
Cuba is not only targeting travelers from the U.S. Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health said that the country would also reduce the number of flights from Mexico, Panana, Haiti, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. It remained unclear how many commercial flights on carriers such as American, Southwest and Delta would be affected. Cuban Civil Aeronautics officials were conferring this week with officials from the airlines about reductions, reported the state-run newspaper, Granma, but “as soon as the epidemiological situation allows it, the frequency of flights will be gradually restored.”