Cuban officials on Monday announced they are limiting travel throughout the island and abroad for their citizens and closed all schools starting Tuesday for nearly a month to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The Cuban government will “regulate” Cubans ability to leave the communist-run island, said Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, “to protect their health, their family, neighbors and work comrades.”
Marrero said Cubans would need to present a “humanitarian reason” for travel abroad and for Cubans traveling between different provinces on the island.
Travel restrictions: Last week, Cuban officials said tourism is banned on the island starting Tuesday and that all Cuban and foreign residents returning from abroad would have to undergo supervised quarantine for 14 days.
Despite that announcement, Marrero said, more than 32,000 foreign tourists remained on the island. Starting Tuesday, he announced, tourists would be banned from leaving their hotels as the government worked to return them to their home countries.
“No one can go into the street,” Marrero said of the tourists.
Life under lockdown: School classes would be suspended starting Tuesday until at least April 20. All Cubans are required to study in state-run schools.
Marrero also announced that Cubans waiting in “colas” or long lines for hard to find items would need to keep at least one meter (approximately 3 feet) in distance from other people.
He said additional police would be dispatched throughout the island to enforce the new measures.
So far, Cuba has announced the island has 40 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 1,036 people have been hospitalized for observation.