MADRID, Spain. – New Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) control regulations took effect Saturday, December 4th, as a result of the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
According to the regulations, which were published by the official daily Granma, travelers who arrive in Cuba from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi and Eswatini will have to present a full record of vaccination upon arrival, as well as a negative PCR-RT administered no more than 72 hours prior to travel.
Passengers will have samples taken for a PCR-RT SARS-CoV-2 test, which will be repeated on the sixth day from arrival. Between the two tests, passengers will remain in quarantine at a hotel set-aside for that purpose. Passengers will have to pay lodging and transportation costs out of pocket, Granma explained. If test results come back negative, passengers will be discharged.
The rest of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong, Egypt and Turkey, will have to abide by the same requirements, except for the quarantine and the PCR-RT test on the sixth day.
These new measures, which aim to reinforce controls regarding international travelers, are being issued following president Miguel Díaz-Canel’s decision to not close Cuba’s border in spite of the new coronavirus variant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended maintaining a distance of at least one meter (three feet) between individuals; avoiding closed and poorly ventilated places; continuing to use masks correctly; and keeping up the vaccination process.
The OMS also indicated that this variant poses a greater risk of reinfection than previous variants, although the information available is limited.
The Omicron variant was first reported last November 29th in South Africa by the president of the Medical Association of South Africa, Dr. Angelique Coetzee.
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