Cuba, whose economy relies significantly on tourism, is planning to significantly ease entry requirements on Nov. 15. That is because Cuban officials are expecting a significant milestone to be reached by then: at least 90% of its populace having been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
Most notably, visitors will not need to have a recent negative COVID-19 test result to show upon entry into the country. However, they should expect to be vaccinated, to be asked if they are showing any symptoms related to that virus, to have their temperature taken and possibly be required to take a random diagnostic test.
This announcement is coming on the heels of the country suffering from high daily COVID-19 infection and death rates of around 7,000 and 80, respectively, the highest that those numbers have been since March 2020. And many believe that those figures may be significantly undercounted due to a shortage in PCR tests in the country and inconsistencies with how related information is reported across Cuba.
Also, the country’s current vaccination rates have not yet reached a significant level. Currently, 52% of Cubans are at least partially vaccinated while 41% are fully vaccinated, meaning that the pace will need to pick up significantly for this 90% goal to be reached by Nov. 15.
The country had been desperate to reopen to visitors earlier in the year, doing so in March while promoting Cuba as a safe destination before imposing greater restrictions once again a few days later.
Tourism accounts for about 10% of the country’s economy during non-pandemic times, and the middle of November is the usual start of Cuba’s high season, likely much of the reason why that is the new goal date.
As a result of these factors, would-be travelers to Cuba should keep themselves updated on the status of this goal as the date nears.
Currently and possibly until Nov. 15, those who travel to Cuba must take multiple PCR tests. At a minimum, these include one within 72 hours prior to the trip and one at the airport. A multi-day self-isolation period at a hotel may be required as well.