14ymedio/EFE, Havana, March 23, 2020 — Cubans will not be able to leave the country without authorization nor move about within the country between the provinces, as a measure to stop the spread of COVID-19, Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, announced this Monday.
The measures “will be of strict compliance” indicated Marrero on a state television program on which the new official measures to confront the epidemic were announced.
Cuba, which until now has recorded 40 cases of coronavirus and more than a thousand people in preventative hospital isolation, will partially close its borders starting tomorrow, Tuesday, and will only allow current residents of the country, both Cubans and foreigners, to enter.
Authorities have asked that the necessary “social distancing” be kept in mind, although in a country where every day one has to wait in long lines to buy basic products or to travel anywhere, it is difficult to carry out this measure.
Marrero said that in Cuba there are currently 32,574 tourists and 10,299 Cubans who live abroad. In addition he stressed that Cubans who do not live on the island will not be able to enter the country starting this Tuesday.
“From this moment on we are regulating the exit of all our compatriots from national territory,” said Marrero.
The prime minister made clear that those Cubans who live permanently abroad will not be able to return to the country. Cubans who live in Cuba are also prohibited from traveling abroad except for humanitarian reasons.
Marrero added that Cubans who live on the island will only be able to return with one piece of hand luggage and one suitcase. “We cannot continue allowing family members to wait at the airport,” said the prime minister.
The Government also announced that recent arrivals will be isolated in quarantine centers. The transfer will be made by the Ministry of Transport and the National Police.
The prime minister announced that 22,000 Cubans travel every day from one province to another and suspended interprovincial transport.
“We have asked the ministry of transport for this measure to be applied,” he added.
As well as flights, land and train trips are also prohibited, including in the private sector.
Marrero announced that public transportation will be limited and said that two million people get around every day in the very old public transportation system.
“Those movements are now a risk for the people themselves and for others,” he said.
The Government announced that tourists will be strictly forbidden from leaving their hotels. All tourist excursions are suspended.
“There are no tourists in the street starting tomorrow,” he said. The measure also takes effect in private lodging houses. The State announced the suspension of car rentals.
Tourists in Viñales, Baracoa, and Trinidad who are in private houses will be transferred to state facilities near the airports.
Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera
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