How is Cuba preparing for the Omicron variant to receive international tourism?

Posted By : Roxanna Alba/ 2101 0

It has happened to you that you want with all your might to travel to the island, but you are afraid of being infected or that perhaps the conditions or measures to prevent such spread do not exist; If you want to know how Cuba prepares for your arrival, stay and you will finally know how safe it is to spend a pleasant vacation, although not forgetting about your health, in the largest country in the Caribbean.

When de-escalation begins in many of the countries of the world after almost two years of confinement due to covid-19, Omicron appears.

Baptized with the same name from the Greek alphabet, Omicron, the B.1.1.529 strain has been considered by the World Health Organization as a “worrying” variant.

What are the fundamental characteristics of the omicron variant:
  1. Omicron is highly contagious, but less virulent; that is, it causes less severe symptoms.
  2. It manifests with mild symptoms among people vaccinated against COVID-19.
  3. Rapid expansion and transmissibility.

Added to this is the fact that practically the entire Cuban population is vaccinated, which means that, although there is a high number of cases, those that evolve towards serious and critical states and towards death are much less than with the delta variant.

First it was in South Africa, and then in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic and until a few days ago the United States, Canada, Brazil, Russia, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Argentina, Guatemala, Israel and Japan joined, which closed its borders to African countries where Omicron is already a reality.

In Cuba, despite having shown a positive trend around the month of November, reopening schools, businesses and reactivating international tourism, it was not alienated from such a situation.

The health authorities were confident in the positive effect of the massive vaccination campaign that they have carried out in recent months with the three nationally produced formulas: Abdala, Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus.

Given the appearance of the new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, Cuba applies new protocol principles, among them the first, which remains intact: that the healthy patient does not get sick, the one who gets sick does not go to a serious stage, the one who agrave does not die and whoever recovers does so with the least amount of sequelae.

As of January 5, in addition to presenting a negative PCR, carried out a maximum of 72 hours before the trip, they must show a vaccination certificate from their countries of origin with the complete schedule of the applied vaccine.

However, it will not be necessary for children up to 12 years of age, of any nationality or origin, to present the complete vaccination schedule, as well as those adults who, for medical reasons, and duly certified, “cannot be vaccinated with any of the vaccines approved to date by the corresponding regulatory agencies.

Foreign travelers who make up part of the enrollment in international schools, scholarships in Cuban institutions, technicians and foreign collaborators who are staying, will carry out an eight-day quarantine in their respective centers, and a PCR will be carried out on the seventh day of their arrival, all of the above declared by the MINSAP (Ministry of Public Health).

 Active screening will be organized and booster vaccination will be expedited, prioritizing pregnant women.

For travelers coming from the countries where cases have previously been revealed: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Malagui and Eswatini, the following conditions will apply:

  • Present a complete vaccination schedule, the result of the PCR carried out in the last 72 hours before entering the country, and, in addition, travelers from the countries indicated above will have a PCR sample taken upon arrival, as it used to be.
  • A mandatory quarantine will be applied for seven days in a place designated for this purpose, with the traveler assuming the costs of accommodation and transportation.
  • Before the end of the quarantine, a second sample for PCR will be taken again on the sixth day.
  • In the case of travelers from Belgium, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and the rest of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the same measures as the previous countries will be applied, with the exception of quarantine and PCR on the sixth day.

What does it mean: you arrive, you have to come with the requirements that were explained, and a PCR sample is taken at the airport itself.

Regarding the design of the protocol, almost 80% of the people are having a mild, asymptomatic or very mild disease and go home. The percentage that remains, those at high risk, older, with a moderate or severe disease, go to health institutions.

Keeping the epidemiological situation under control in 2022 is essential for Cuba, which is why the state company BioCubaFarma has assured that they are analyzing the omicron variant in case it was necessary to modulate the current vaccines in order to maintain their effectiveness against this mutation and that, if necessary, they would be able to produce the updated formulas shortly.

As a curious fact and it is important that you know, that Cuba, with 86% of its population fully immunized, is the second country with more than one million inhabitants with a higher vaccination rate, behind only the United Arab Emirates.

So, the question that I initially mentioned to you: how safe is it to spend a pleasant vacation, although not forgetting about your health, in the largest country in the Caribbean?

Well, you know Cuba prepares daily to take care of its own, but also to all those who want to visit it, since they are also part of its family, but never forget that you must first take care of yourself, complying with all hygienic measures- personal care toilets and thus achieve enchanting and indelible experiences.

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