As Cuba sees off tourists and is preparing to confront the coronavirus

March 24-the flow of travelers to Cuba stopped, and the authorities have taken this tough decision as one of the measures to prevent the epidemic. This step was forced, because tourists arriving daily by the thousands to Cuba from disadvantaged in terms of the spread of coronavirus in European countries, were those who, without knowing it, had brought most of the cases COVID-19.

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After the announcement of plans to close the border for tourists, it seemed that those who are already on the Island, they complete their vacation. And it was here at this moment about 70 thousand tourists. Conducting your vacation in Varadero a couple from Moscow on Saturday, a day after the news told to the correspondent “RG” that they are scheduled on the following Friday return remains unchanged, the guides still make up the schedule of excursions. After all, the Cubans promised to give all the tourists to safely leave the country. But things didn’t go so smoothly. On Monday it became known that all the remaining travelers are actually transferred to the quarantine. In anticipation of the flight home they were forbidden to leave the hotel, and those staying in the private sector, was ordered to move to certain hotels, where the same was put in isolation. Within the hotels were closed pools, gyms and discos. Moreover, in Cuba all the beaches are public property, i.e. do not belong to hotels. Although hotels take care and maintain beaches, which are located on the contrary, formally, these beaches are not their territory. This means that to get to them is strictly prohibited. Imagine a tourist, who was forbidden to go to the beach located 100 metres from the hotel notno difficult, so resorts began everywhere tourists clashes with the police, some even returned to the hotel. My interlocutors, by the way, returned home safely on Wednesday, the travel company quickly organized “export” flights. But not everyone was lucky – many had to stay in a state of siege longer.

it is important to note that Cubans in General are very disciplined people. They have a very clear understanding that if the Island authorities ban something, better to be safe and to listen. After all, one way or the other about the violation becomes known, and then troubles are guaranteed. So, the taxi drivers suddenly refused to carry travelers (tourists can take advantage of only the services of the public taxi), and the owners of private houses asked many of his guests out.

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But, of course, the Cubans are people too. Correspondent “RG” has become an unwitting witness to the actual RAID when he was walking down the street of a residential area to one of the houses is rapidly pulled up tinted VAZ-2106, which, forlornly looking around, there was an elderly couple (in appearance from one of the Scandinavian countries) with a huge suitcase and went down the stairs to the basement. Realizing that his secret plan has failed, the driver “the six” tells me that helps to your guests.

“Their flight leaves the day after tomorrow and the other a private house, where they lived, they were simply evicted. The hotel, which is now allocated for tourists, was not available. I could not help them”, – said the confused Cuban. Realizing hI’m not going to tell anyone about it is not a legitimate act, he adds that the proposed hotel for the money will help his family, which without the tourists remains in a very difficult situation.

then What?

those who now will lose earnings after that, as the Island will remain without tourists, millions. The next day, after the travellers were actually outside the law, the streets of one of the most attractive for tourists cities of the country – Havana – was empty and deserted. Whether the case heard near the famous Capitol not to find any pink convertible! Their Parking lot is empty. In the capital no one offers to go to a restaurant, not impose cigars, not beckoning for a tour and so on the tourist list. From now on, all entertainment places are closed, restaurants either do not work or offer delivery services.

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Foreigners now here is not very happy. Correspondent “RG” the police have twice mistaken for a wandering tourist and were willing to transmit to the hotel in quarantine. Only after the presentation of accreditation, seasoned long explanation, the guards reluctantly let go of the alien, advising all to stay home.

“Can you pick up some cigars before I go?” – suddenly takes me for a tourist near the sadly closed famous bar of the “Floridita” the lone smiling Cuban. Recently there was ten people. And immediately notice that he says your product is now much quieter and more modest than before. He understands that the aliens now control PTSshade close, and most can be easily to make trouble. But still to miss the chance he did not want, because it is unknown when the opportunity to sell the cigars will appear again. Knowing that it wasn’t a tourist, he is getting unhappy, and the question about what he intends to do without foreign guests, forcing him to think hard. First, Cuban says will try to deliver food from your restaurant that they opened together with his brother. Then he stops for a moment and he says that supply is not cheap (as everything here is focused on tourists) the food is actually especially and no one.

“it is hoped that the ban will quickly be removed, and the tourists return. In any case, we had no other choice, the country had to close” – shows a surprising awareness of the such a ban is losing virtually all their income. In General, the perception taken by the authorities of measures on the Island all evaluated quite positively. The Cubans realize that times have really difficult, but there’s no other way. The more people over 60 years and so are in the blockade, it is hardly possible to scare the difficult times.

Life goes on

But once out of the tourist areas, the city comes alive. Street meets more and more people, the shops, the queues are usual. Although, of course, the people of markedly less than in a normal weekday. The Cuban government has long urged people not to go without having from home. Now this is facilitated by the abolition of school hours (until 20 April) – parents have to stay home with the kids.

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But the hard instructionseverybody stay at home in quarantine here until it was. Yes, and it is difficult to impose any restrictions on output except in cases of emergency, if, for example, in a nearby store to buy even the most simple products don’t always work. Because the coronavirus has canceled the deficit. And the products here do not go there, much closer, and where something is. It is reported by “word of mouth”: someone familiar, and someone finds the information in a variety of groups in instant messengers. And then in pursuit of the same proverbial chicken Cubans can drive half of the city.

in the meantime, the authorities have promised to improve the situation with the supply of stores as well as ordered to keep your distance in queues is not less than one meter from each other. In the most popular shopping centres this is followed by the police. Now visual queues are longer, even though the people in them has not increased. Well, in the stores themselves, as in all other public areas on the entrance on the table are bottles of bleach in order to allow visitors to disinfect hands. If you have to go in many such institutions, to the end of the day the skin starts to beg for mercy.

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and Introduced other measures mainly aimed at reducing the social activity of the population of the Island. For example, a cancelled bus and air services between the provinces. Flown to Cuba passengers (and now it can be either Cubans or foreigners who have a residence permit) are required to undergo 14-day quarantine in a specially converted for this property, which is now still empty. And with him you can now bring one piece of hand Luggage and one suitcase. MadeOh, it’s not just because given the difficult consumer situation in Cuba, before returning to tend to buy extra Luggage and brought with them 3 or 4 goals scored in the suitcase. Now the ability to take arriving with so many things in the quarantine centres, the authorities simply do not have.

While the efforts of the Cuban authorities to curb the epidemic seems to really work. Dynamics, and the number of infected COVID-19 which is lower than that of its neighbors – yet here confirmed 57 cases of the coronavirus. Cuba itself helps other countries to fight the pandemic – directs medics to the most affected regions. For example, a brigade of Cuban doctors successfully works in Italy. But relax, of course, earlier and in Cuba. The nature taken by the local authorities of the measures indicates the seriousness of the situation. It seems that restrictions on entry of foreign visitors hardly will be soon removed, and with the income from the tourism sector will have to wait. This means that Cuba once again will face difficult times, which, however, are ready.