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Cuba unrolls COVID-19 testing at hotels in select destinations

In response to Canada’s new pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements for air passengers, Cuba has confirmed that Canadian travellers will be able to obtain a PCR test, at their hotel instead of an off-site clinic, in select destinations.

Canadians will be able to get tested at their resorts in Varadero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Santa Maria and Holguin.

The test cost is 30.00 USD payable only by credit card or debit or Visa (no cash).

“Clients staying at hotels in these destinations can have peace of mind that the test is done right at their hotels,” said Lessner Gomez, Director of the Cuba Tourist Board in Toronto. “Guests will be advised upon arrival during the welcoming briefing about all the details on how to get tested and how to arrange the appointment through the doctor at each hotel. For clients staying in private homes they can get tested at all international clinics in Cuba, which are located throughout the country.”

Gomez added that Cuba has a “world-class health system and the highest doctor/patient ratio in the world, three times more than Canada.”

“We are totally ready to accommodate increased testing,” he said.

The tourism board said that with a centrally planned, state-controlled economy, Cuba’s government has been able to mobilize its resources quickly.

PCR tests taken upon arrival

Cuba also has further simplified the entry process for Canadian visitors.

Travellers need only their passport, tourist card and COVID-19 insurance (which is included in the holiday package in most cases, or they can buy it locally upon arrival for 30.00 USD).

COVID-19 testing rules for air travellers

A PCR test will be done upon arrival at the airport in Cuba.

“It’s great news that Cuba can offer these conveniences to all Canadians visiting our beautiful country,” said Mr. Gomez.

Limited-time exceptions to rules

Canada’s new testing requirement for all international travellers kicked off on Jan. 7.

The restriction mandates that all travellers (five years of age and older) flying to Canada to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flight.

However, there some limited-time exceptions to the rules.

Travellers departing from the Caribbean or South America can, for example, use tests conducted within 96 hours of departure (instead of 72 hours) until Jan. 14, 2021, as federal officials revealed on Jan. 6, 2021.

The test must be performed using one of two types of COVID-19 tests: either a molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP).

Travellers will be responsible for covering the costs of tests and must present their negative results at the time of boarding.

“Failure to do so will mean an automatic denial of boarding by the airline operating the flight to Canada,” reads a statement on the Government of Canada’s website.

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