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01 Apr 2020 | 02:54 AM UTC

Cuba: All international passenger flights suspended due to COVID-19 March 31 /update 3

Cuba suspends arrival of all international passenger flights due to COVID-19 pandemic on March 31; confirm travel itineraries



On Tuesday, March 31, the Cuban government announced that it will be suspending the arrival of all international passenger flights due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Authorities have also ordered for all foreign boats and ships currently in Cuban waters to leave. Earlier on Tuesday, March 24, authorities banned the entry of foreign visitors into the country to prevent further spread of the virus. Only returning Cubans and foreign residents are allowed entry but will need to be quarantined for 14 days in a government facility.

Other containment measures also remain in place as of Monday, March 23. All tourists are required to stay in their hotel or casas particular (private houses) and are only allowed to leave the premises to travel to the airport. All discos, nightclubs, and gyms are closed until further notice. Schools and universities will suspend classes from March 24 until April 30. Strict social distancing measures are also being ordered in businesses and stores. The government said it will deploy additional police officers into streets, grocery stores, and other public places to enforce the new regulations.

To-date, there are 186 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cuba, including six fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term. 


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labelled the outbreak as pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.