14ymedio, Havana, 17 June 2021 — As of June 20, Cubans who want to leave the island via Matanzas and Ciego de Ávila must present, before boarding, payment for the hotel where they will spend, on their return, a mandatory 7-day isolation period. This must be paid in freely convertible currency (MLC) and out of their own pocket.
The new provision was announced by the national director of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Public Health, Francisco Durán García, this Thursday during his daily appearance, with the aim of “facilitating the movement of tourists and travelers,” reports the official press. Not excluded is the requirement, also mandatory until now: a negative PCR certificate when arriving at the airport.
The measure further complicates, if possible, the travel abroad of nationals, who since last June 5 are obliged, if they arrive in Varadero or Cayo Coco, to pay for the required quarantine in freely convertible currency (MLC).
According to official rates, the cost of these packages range from $292 for six nights at the Aparthotel Azul in Ciego de Ávila to almost $500 at the Iberostar Bella Costa hotel in Varadero, passing through the $400 at the Hotel Sol Cayo Coco and Hotel Colonial in Ciego de Ávila, and Los Cactus, Mar del Sur, Las Morlas and Sun Beach in Varadero.
The consular section of Cuba in Mexico City echoed the new measures through its social networks, explaining that, for island residents, packages “may be purchased through national travel agencies, before travel abroad, or reserved from abroad through the tour operators that market the destination Cuba.”
Durán justified the new measures due to the number of cases “in many countries with which we have relations.” The official did not specify, but Cubans mostly use the airports of Ciego de Ávila and Varadero to travel to Russia, as a final destination or to connect to other destinations, due to the limitation on flights that the Government implemented since the beginning of the year to stop the outbreak of Covid-19.
By this same route, hundreds of nationals return to the island, many of them — popularly known as ’mules’ — dedicated to the business of importing merchandise to resell in the informal market.
At the same time, the virulence of the third wave of Covid in Cuba does not cease, and Durán himself acknowledged that May, with 35,701 patients positive for the coronavirus, was “the worst month of the epidemic in the national territory, since in March of last year when the first three infections with Sars-CoV-2 were reported.”
After setting a record last Tuesday, with 1,537 positives registered on that day, the latest official report from the Ministry of Public Health shows, this Thursday, 1,418 new cases and 5 deaths. There is a total of 163,415 cases and 1,123 deaths.
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