As of Tuesday, April 21, Cuba's health authorities have announced that there are 1087 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) nationwide and 36 associated fatalities.
Public transportation has been suspended nationwide since April 11 to curb the spread of the virus. The suspension applies to public and private transportation, as well as city, inter-municipal, and rural routes. Services will only be available for those working in essential sectors, and travelers are required to war face masks while in transit.
Curfews remain in place in Santiago de Cuba province and in the municipality of Consolación Sur (Pinar del Rio province). In Santiago de Cuba province, residents are not permitted to leave their homes from 19:00 (local time) unless under extraordinary circumstances and all public and private services have ceased operations during the curfew period. Police officers are enforcing these measures. In Consolacion Sur, the curfew is in force from 20:00 (local time). Similar measures have also been implemented in the El Carmelo neighborhood of Havana's Plaza de Revolución area. Authorities have also issued quarantine orders for the Camilo Cienfuegos community in Pinar del Río. Under the quarantine orders, no one is allowed to enter or exit the designated area except for those with a safe-conduct pass. No public transportation services are operating in the area and all individuals must remain in their homes. Authorities have also increase sanitation measures, such as disinfecting stairs and streets.
All commercial and charter flights are currently suspended from entering or leaving Cuba, and all foreign sea vessels have been ordered to leave Cuban waters. The authorities have banned the entry of foreign visitors into the country. Returning Cubans and foreign residents are allowed entry but face mandatory quarantine for 14 days in a government facility. Anyone who arrived in the country between Tuesday, March 17 and Monday, March 23, must be tested for COVID-19. Any tourists who did not leave Cuba on scheduled commercial flights must stay in a designated hotel until further notice.
Discos, nightclubs, and gyms are closed until further notice. Schools and universities are suspended until April 30. Strict social distancing measures are also being ordered in businesses and stores.
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) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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 nonessential 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 disease.