Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health News Florida
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Claiming 'Recovery' From COVID-19, Cuba (Slightly) Opens The Door To Tourism

The seaside Avenida Malecon in Havana sits virtually empty still as Cuba begins to reopen from the coronavirus pandemic.
The seaside Avenida Malecon in Havana sits virtually empty still as Cuba begins to reopen from the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuba believes it has managed COVID-19 well enough to re-open the island this week to one of its most important economic sectors: tourism. But you won’t see any visitors riding in vintage cars down Havana’s Malecón.

WLRN is committed to providing the trusted news and local reporting you rely on. Please keep WLRN strong with your support today. Donate now. Thank you.

On official state media like "Granma," you willsee headlines like: “Cuba has recovered and defeated the pandemic.” The island has in fact reported fewer than 2,500 COVID-19 cases and fewer than 100 deaths. But whether or not Cuba has really subdued the new coronavirus, it’s opening its doors again to foreign visitors.

Or at least opening its doors a crack. Under the plan, tourists will have to stay on one of five islands just off Cuba’s north coast, including Cayo Coco. They’ll also have to take charter flights directly to those islands, or to a site in central Cuba.

Before they’re allowed to go to their island hotels, they’ll be tested for coronavirus. Those who show symptoms will be quarantined and most likely sent packing. Those who can stay will be strictly isolated from the Cuban population.

Cuba earns $4 billion a year from tourism, or about a tenth of its GDP. The loss of that revenue in the past few months has further crippled the communist island’s economy and worsened shortages. Even so, Havana, which has seen most of Cuba’s COVID-19 cases, will remain off limits to tourists for now.

Officials this week said most of Cuba, except Havana, is now entering phase two of the island’s post-pandemic re-opening.

Copyright 2020 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.