HAVANA, Cuba. – The island is preparing for the arrival of international tourism in mid-November. It’s the way the government aims to revive the country’s economy.
For a year and a half, isolation and the fear of becoming sick with COVID-19 and even dying from it have caused traumas, while the microcosm of food lines has distorted the personality of many Cubans. Returning to the usual activities or a new job in the private sector could bring back the traditionally happy, musically-inclined and hard-working Cuban who wishes to welcome tourists, for they will be bearers of the prosperity lost due to the absence of American tourists in 2019, and Canadian and European ones since March 2020.
Details about the reopening were given during the televised Mesa Redonda that aired on September 23. Officials who participated in the program included Betsy Díaz, Minister of Domestic Commerce; Dr. Francisco Durán García, National Director of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health; Reynaldo García Zapata, Governor of Havana province; Mario Sabines, Governor of Matanzas province. A few days earlier, President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Prime Minister Manuel Marrero had announced the imminent reopening.
Havana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Ciego de Ávila, Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo and Mayabeque provinces will begin opening within their respective borders, with limited inter-provincial access. Evidently, they are the principal tourism poles; Sancti Spíritus and Holguín provinces cannot be included in this group due to the high number of contagions and deaths within their borders. It is strange to find Santiago and Guantánamo on this list, when both provinces show a high number of coronavirus cases and neither is a tourism pole, with the exception of Baracoa, which at present has a yet-uncontrolled resurgence of the virus.
The reopening of Cuban borders could cause a resurgence of COVID-19, as it occurred in 2020. When COVID-19 cases had practically been eliminated, travelers from Russia brought the Delta variant of coronavirus to Cuba. That is the dilemma that humanity is facing in its hope that vaccination will reduce the number of severe cases and deaths while mankind gest used to coexist with the epidemic.
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