Havana airport will open to regular commercial flights on Sunday after being closed for seven and a half months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cuban state-run media said late on Tuesday citing Cuba’s Institute of Civil Aeronautics.
The move comes on time for what is traditionally the Caribbean island nation’s high tourist season from November to March although the pandemic is expected to reduce the flow of visitors.
The tourism sector is one of the top hard currency income earners in cash-strapped Cuba which already opened most of the country last month to travelers.
Plunged into crisis and scarcity by tough U.S. sanctions and the COVID-19 outbreak, the import-dependent country is struggling towards a “new normal”.
The Cuban government said it was holding off on opening up the capital until its coronavirus outbreak was sufficiently contained.
Authorities will test all international travelers for coronavirus on arrival, state-run media said, and will levy a sanitary tariff in order to cover the extra costs of new hygiene protocols.
Cuba does not require travelers to take a coronavirus test prior to traveling but on Tuesday told tourism agencies to insist to visitors they monitor their own health before traveling after 11 of the 900 Russian tourists that arrived at a northern beach resort last week tested positive upon arrival.
Reuters | Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama