Cuba announced the closure for one month of its borders to non-residents. The island thus intends to protect itself from the coronavirus pandemic, after having tried until the last moment to preserve the activity essential for its economy.

Cuba announced the closure for one month of its borders to non-residents. The island thus intends to protect itself from the coronavirus pandemic, after having tried until the last moment to preserve the activity essential for its economy.

(.) – “We will regulate entry to the country’s borders, only allowing residents to enter Cuba,” Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel announced on Friday. The last official report of Havana reports 21 positive cases to covid-19 including a death, that of an Italian tourist, and 716 suspected cases. “We guarantee the return to Cuba of Cubans who are abroad, the right of foreigners who are here to return to their country, and we maintain economic activity,” he added.

The measure will come into force on Tuesday and for 30 days, with the exit from the territory still possible, but only for the few 60,000 tourists currently present in Cuba. According to Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, almost all of the hotels and the majority of the restaurants on the island will close, an unprecedented measure in the country, but ships and freight planes will continue to arrive on the island, which imports 80 % of what it consumes.

Schools will remain open in Cuba to accommodate students, the president said. A new measure for a country going into containment mode.

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With tourism as an economic engine and crucial source of foreign exchange (3 billion euros in 2018), Cuba, which has suffered for a few years from a resumption of American sanctions against it, has until now refused to apply any restriction to its borders. This policy clashed with neighboring countries and drew criticism from a part of the population, worried in this country where 20% of the inhabitants are over 60 years old, where soap is often lacking and water cuts are frequent.

“As responsible behavior to protect us from contagion, we call to reduce social interactions”, launched the head of state. “People at high risk must stay at home, avoid close contact” and “we must remove the effusive greetings, kisses and hugs”. The major sports and cultural gatherings had already been suspended for a few days.

“No somos invulnerables, pero si se aplica la serenidad y organización con que el Estado enfrenta esta nueva situación, podremos superarla. Fuerza Cuba, que viviremos y venceremos ”, destacó nuestro presidente Miguel Díaz-Canel #CubaPorLaSalud @ Tecnoazucar2 pic.twitter.com/0VefGhnVug

– Marisbelis Rousseau Arias (@AriasRousseau)
   March 21, 2020

This time, discos, theme parks, theaters and cabarets will have to close. In this economy of socialist orientation, these measures will hit the Cuban private sector (13% of the workforce), already affected by the American sanctions. But authorities have announced that he will benefit from a moratorium on his taxes. Employees forced to stop working due to this crisis will have 100% of their guaranteed salary the first month, 60% thereafter.

However, the schools will remain open, a decision defended by Prime Minister Manuel Marrero: “Where will these children be most secure, if not in the schools?”

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