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News > Latin America

Cuba Tightens COVID-19 Preventive Measures Ahead Of Christmas

  • A girl rides bike in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 26, 2020.

    A girl rides bike in Havana, Cuba, Nov. 26, 2020. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 14 December 2021 (1 hours 37 minutes ago)
Opinion

Travelers from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique are required to show vaccination certificates and negative results of PCR tests.

President President Miguel Diaz-Canel's administration has tightened measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 ahead of Christmas.

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With mask mandates and COVID-19 guidance in place, cultural activities have been scheduled all over the country for the end of the year. The move came as the Caribbean nation on Sunday added 62 new cases, bringing the national tally to 963,628, according to the Cuban Ministry of Public Health. There are 331 active COVID-19 cases on the island, 16 of them being in intensive care units.

According to the health ministry, COVID-19 infection rates per 100,000 inhabitants have steadily decreased across the country's 15 provinces over the past two weeks. President Diaz-Canel urged people to comply with the safety protocols to reduce the spread of the virus nationwide.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is under control but the virus is still around," he said. "Now, we have to rigorously continue implementing the (preventive) measures, because, otherwise, we would scupper the efforts made during the vaccination campaign in Cuba."

Health authorities have confirmed a Cuban medical worker, who arrived on the island from Mozambique, as its first case of the Omicron variant.

All travelers flying into Cuba from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique are now required to show vaccination certificates and negative results of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests taken within 72 hours of arrival. Furthermore, the passengers are also required to take PCR tests on arrival and on the sixth day after arrival, as well as stay in quarantine hotels for a week at their own expense.

So far, 9.3 million people, or about 83.7 percent of the island's population, have been fully inoculated against COVID-19, local media reported. In addition, a COVID-19 booster vaccine drive is already underway in Havana, the country's capital and most populous city with 2.2 million residents.

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