The Council of Ministers of Cuba this Wednesday addressed the recovery strategy after controlling the COVID-19 epidemic on the island and the measures that will be implemented gradually, including the promotion of national tourism in a first phase.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez chaired the meeting of the highest government body in which the plan for de-escalation measures was examined and approved, which will start with a first stage divided into three phases, the details of which will be disclosed this Thursday in the Mesa Redonda TV program.
Hoy, en la Mesa Redonda explicaremos desescalamiento de las medidas de enfrentamiento a la COVID19, o sea la etapa de recuperación Post Covid-19. #CubaSalvaVidas
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) June 11, 2020
At this time, Cuba reports less hospitalizations than medical discharges in the health system, the active COVID-19 foci are decreasing, as well as the new daily infections, and almost all the municipalities and provinces have not reported incidents in practically a month, according to the president, who considered that the country is “in a position to return to normality.”
Normalization will take place “gradually and asymmetrically” to avoid a fresh outbreak and to develop the capacities to deal with it, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero was also quoted as saying by state media.
The measures, which in their first phase maintain the use of the facemask in public spaces as mandatory, cover sectors such as health, tourism, labor and tax issues, foreign and domestic trade, transportation, education, sports and culture.
Tourism, the second official source of foreign exchange earnings for the country, has been one of the economic areas hardest hit by the closure of borders and hotel services. The island closed its doors to tourism at the end of March and, for the moment, an official date for reopening the borders has not been announced, although the embassies of several countries with representation in Havana have announced that it will not occur until at least next August.
Marrero specified, without advancing dates, that in the first phase the opening will be only for local tourism and in a second international tourism will begin, gradually, depending on demand and only in the facilities located in the keys of the north and south of the Cuban archipelago.
Among the measures planned for the arrival of foreign visitors, according to the official, are PCR tests on visitors to detect if the traveler is positive for the coronavirus.
The hotels will have a clinical-epidemiological surveillance system by specialists, and occupancy and capacity in gastronomic and recreational services, as well as car rental and excursions, will be limited.
This summer there will be no activities involving crowds; the swimming pools will open at 30% of their capacity and with a hygiene protocol; and access to the beaches will be under control measures.
In the area of transportation, Marrero pointed out that in the first phase, restrictions on entry and exit from the country are maintained, although urban, inter-municipal, and rural public transportation, both state and private (paralyzed since the beginning of April) will be reestablished “with limitations.”
The plan also includes the restoration of some legal services, the revival of exports and foreign investment. The school year interrupted in April will resume in September for its culmination and in November the new school period will begin, while in higher education classes and entrance exams will be postponed during the first two phases of the recovery process.