HAVANA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Cuba has recently started immunizing tourism employees against COVID-19 as part of an intervention study of its domestic vaccine candidates, local media reported Monday.
The vaccination roll-out came as the Caribbean nation registered 1,057 new cases and 10 more deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the national counts to 125, 511 and 814, respectively.
In Havana, the epicenter of COVID-19 on the island, a batch of coach drivers working for a tourism transportation company received the first dose of Abdala COVID-19 vaccine, according to Cuban News Agency.
Meanwhile, health authorities in the western province of Matanzas said that vaccination centers had been set up to inoculate some 5, 900 tourism workers in Varadero, the country's most visited resort.
In a press note, Melia, the largest hotel chain in Cuba, said that the extension of the COVID-19 intervention study to the tourism sector in Varadero would "reinforce protocols implemented for the sake of guests and visitors" and consolidate "the destination as a safe place for travelers from all over the world."
At present, phase 3 clinical trials for Cuban COVID-19 vaccine candidates Soberana-02 and Abdala are underway, and so are intervention studies involving frontline workers from across the country.
Only about 1.1 million tourists visited Cuba last year, down from the more than 4 million foreign visitors the island has annually received since 2016.