On Friday, May 29, Public Security Minister, Michael Soto, announced that Costa Rica would extend border closures through Tuesday, June 30, due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Exceptions will be made for medical or humanitarian reasons, diplomatic staff, and food supply. Costa Rican citizens and legal residents are still allowed to enter; however, anyone who enters the country will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Foreign nationals who entered the country after December 17, 2019, are permitted to remain in the country until August 18. Citizens, legal residents, and tourists are still permitted to leave the country. Foreign nationals who left the country after March 24 will not be permitted to re-enter until further notice.
Domestically, vehicular traffic restrictions remain in place. Between 05:00 and 19:00 (local time) from Monday through Friday, the use of private vehicles is prohibited, except those used by officials, diplomats, or those classified as essential workers. On Saturday and Sunday, vehicular restrictions are in place according to odd/even numbers on the license plates, and only for essential outings. Public transportation is allowed to operate between 04:00 and 23:00, while taxis can operate during all hours of the day.
Bars remain closed nationwide since March 15. Restaurants and food courts still remain open, although they may only seat 50 percent of their defined capacity.As of Friday, May 1, cinemas, theaters, and gyms have been allowed to reopen at 25 percent of their capacity. Costa Ricans were also called upon to avoid nonessential travel.
As of Saturday, May 30, there have been 1047 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica, with ten associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected 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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