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19 May 2020 | 12:00 PM UTC

Nicaragua: Authorities close border with Costa Rica due to COVID-19 May 18 /update 4

Nicaragua News Alert

Nicaraguan authorities close border with Costa Rica citing COVID-19 testing issues on May 18; confirm travel itineraries

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/19/2020, 12:00 AM until 6/9/2020, 11:59 PM (America/Managua). COUNTRY/REGION Nicaragua

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On Monday, May 18, Nicaraguan authorities announced that it was closing its two border crossings with Costa Rica. President Daniel Ortega cited issues following measures introduced by Costa Rica on Friday, May 8, to test all truck drivers entering the country for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Costa Rica's borders are closed with exemptions for cargo traffic. Since the testing began, Costa Rican officials said that 61 truckers had tested positive attempting to enter the country from Nicaragua and Panama. Ortega has said the testing procedures has led to over 1000 trucks being stranded on highways approaching the border, which is costing businesses money and affecting regional trade. Protests also reportedly occurred on Costa Rica's southern border with Panama over the issue.

The Nicaraguan government has not implemented stringent containment measures in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, heightened screening measures are in effect at entry points and a health form must be completed upon arrival. Commercial flights leaving the country remain suspended until at least early June. To date, Nicaragua has only reported 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with eight associated deaths. However, neighboring countries are concerned over the lack of action taken and believe the reporting lacks transparency, a claim backed up by the testament of some Nicaraguans.

Further international spread over the virus is anticipated over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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