Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities suspend all flights to and from Cuba and request withdrawal of foreign sea vessels as of April 2, due to COVID-19.

This alert affects Cuba

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 09:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: International and internal transport disruptions, significant business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Cuba will suspend all incoming and outbound commercial and charter international flights, as of April 2. Cargo operations and humanitarian flights will be able to continue; airport officials have stated that noncommercial cargo will no longer be processed at cargo terminals. The government has also requested all foreign sea vessels withdraw from Cuban waters, with limited exceptions. It is unclear how long these measures will remain in place. The new restrictions are an escalation of the entry ban for nonresident foreign nationals, which has been in place since March 24, to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). All tourists already in the country will need to remain quarantined at their accommodation except to travel to the airport for their departure.

Other internal measures have also been implemented. All interprovincial transport is suspended. All schools, universities, gyms, social and cultural centers, and theaters are closed until further notice. Bars and restaurants will continue to offer limited services. The government is likely to expand its preventative measures and movement restrictions locally over the coming days and weeks. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Cuban authorities are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Government of Cuba - COVID-19 (Spanish): www.presidencia.gob.cu