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LatinNews Daily - 02 July 2020

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COSTA RICA: Gov’t forced to reintroduce restrictions

On 1 July Costa Rica’s health minister, Daniel Salas, announced that due to a surge in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases, restrictions would be re-imposed in the greater San José metropolitan area.

Analysis:

With the government led by President Carlos Alvarado due to announce the details of these restrictions today (2 July), the announcement regarding San José, the largest urban agglomeration in the country, came as a record 294 new Covid-19 cases were registered in the previous 24 hours, bringing the country’s total to 3,753 cases, with 17 fatalities. This exceeded the previous daily record of 190 cases, set the day before. President Alvarado said this was the first time the government had to re-impose restrictions since it began easing lockdown measures at the start of May. The difficulties facing the Costa Rican government attracted particular attention given that the country has previously received plaudits from figures such as United Nations resident coordinator in Costa Rica Alice Shackleford and World Health Organization (WHO) representative María Dolores Pérez-Rosales for its handling of the pandemic.

  • The announcement regarding the restrictions came after most of the country had entered the third phase of the easing of restrictions on 27 June, whereby (among other measures) hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, cinemas, and theatres are able to operate with limited capacity, provided social distancing measures are in place. However, areas with high transmission rates were exempt, including some districts in San José province and a district in Heredia municipality, the capital of the eponymous province.
  • Yesterday the executive president of Costa Rica’s national social security institute (CCSS), Román Macaya Hayes, warned that if the number of people admitted to hospital with the virus continues to rise, the specialised centre set up to deal with Covid-19 patients (Ceaco) would be saturated in a week. With a total of 56 patients currently hospitalised with the virus, of which 39 are being treated in Ceaco, Macaya said that a further five were in the process of being admitted. He said that a week ago Ceaco had 20 patients, and if the current figure doubles again within a week, Ceaco would be at its limit.

Looking Ahead: President Alvarado said that the new restrictions would take effect tomorrow (3 July), and last “at least” a week.