MIAMI, United States. – Canadian airline Sunwing restarted its operations between Montreal and Toronto, and Varadero, the main sun-and-beaches vacation pole in Cuba, a full month before the island is due to reopen to tourism on November 15, as has been notified by the regime.
According to the news agency EFE, two Sunwing flights originating in Montreal and Toronto will arrive at “Juan Gualberto Gómez” International Airport in Matanzas, every Friday and Sunday during October. Recently, the Canadian airline also announced it would restart flying from Ottawa to four destinations in Cuba next November.
In this manner, Sunwing Airlines joins Russian airlines Aeroflot, Azur Air, NordWind and Royal Flight, which started operations last April and May with its flights to “Juan Gualberto Gómez” International Airport, which is the airport that serves this tourist pole destination.
The renewal of Sunwing flights to Varadero coincides with a drop in new coronavirus cases and in the number of deaths caused by COVID-19, according to official statistics from Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP). These statistics have been disputed by activists and independent news networks.
The Cuban regime announced the reopening of Cuba to international tourism starting November 15. However, it started welcoming foreign tourists earlier, contradicting the official information.
On Friday, October 1, a month and a half prior to the established date, Holguín province opened its borders to international tourism when it welcomed the arrival of an Airbus 321 of Canadian airline Air Transat, which renewed its commercial operations in Cuba, according to the digital news media Ahora.
Sunwing Airlines initially renewed its flights to Cuba from Toronto and Montreal in December 2020, but had to cancel operations one month later after Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced suspension of all travel between Canada and the Caribbean and Mexico due to the spread of coronavirus.
Cuban regime authorities have justified the reopening of the island to foreign tourism with the progress of vaccinations against COVID-19. However, as of September 2, only 36.2% of the Cuban population had been vaccinated with the vaccines produced in the island, according to recent information given by Dr. Francisco Durán García, national director of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health.
The government expects that 92.6% of the population will be fully vaccinated by November, in spite of the fact that the original plan to have 70% of the population fully vaccinated by August was not met.
Health protocols in effect in Cuba require that travelers have the negative results of a PCR test not more than 72 hours before their arrival, which then is enhanced by a second test at the airport upon arrival, and quarantine in a hotel until a third PCR test shows negative results five days after arrival.
Cuba suspended all commercial and charter flights in April 2020 to stop the spread of coronavirus, and in October of that year reopened its airports to a very limited number of flights from the United States, Mexico, Panama, the Bahamas, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.
Before the pandemic, tourism was the second official source of hard-currency revenue for Cuba, second only to the export of medical services to other countries, a practice that has been described by international entities as a “form of modern slavery.”
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