The number of confirmed cases in the country with the coronavirus covid-19, rose to 23 this Thursday, the latest a nurse from the San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital, announced the Minister of Health this Thursday afternoon.
Health Minister Daniel Salas added that, to date, 206 other suspected cases have been ruled out.
Salas presented, with the presence of President Carlos Alvarado, presented the information at a press conference and reported new measures when entering “a new stage of care”: the second phase of the yellow alert.
Alvarado emphasized that the protection of the country does not only depend on the Ministry of Health, but on all citizens.
Among these measures is the recommendation that citizens maintain a distance of 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) from each other in public spaces, especially in the presence of people with any respiratory symptoms.
“Someone who sneezes or coughs outdoors without covering up properly is threatening the life of a person at risk directly. That sneeze can cause an infection of influenza or the new coronavirus,” said the Health Minister.
For his part, Alvarado explained that being a “very contagious” virus, what is sought with mitigation measures “is a curve (of cases) that is longer in time but flatter”; that is to say, that although the presence of the disease is maintained for a longer time, there are fewer new cases every day, without large peaks, which allows better attention in the health services.
Minister Salas warned that there will be no vaccine soon. There is also no specific treatment, so the only way to attack it is to prevent it.
President Carlos Alvarado rejected closing schools across the country; only those schools with risk factors will suspend lessons for 14 extendable business days
In such situations, Health orders will be issued to order closure. Currently, there are 16 closed schools, of which six are public and ten private. All are under a Health order.
Among those risk factors are that a student, teacher or official or relative presents positive symptoms. It can also be due to a lack of water, referring to the water rationing program active in various communities, a typical summer or “dry season” condition.
In addition, meetings or gatherings between students or teachers from different educational centers are prohibited.
During the press conference, President Alvarado answered why closure of educational centers is not ordered, saying that “an absolute closure would have a great social impact in other provinces where no risk factors have been identified.”
“The recommendation of the best experts in the country in various fields is what supports these decisions,” Alvarado said.
In this way, he rejected the request made by 24 legislators, who on Wednesday approved a motion to request the suspension of classes countryside for at least 15 days.
“These measures seek to mitigate the peak of the contagion curve, while minimizing the social and economic impact of the emergency,” said Salas.
Another measure announced today is a 50% reduction in the approved capacity of public gathering sites, such as theaters
The cancellation of all foreign travel by all public officials was also ordered. The Minister invited the private sector to make the same decision.
“That responds to two situations, one is that we have been detecting the cases that have arisen, but we already know that there is a declared pandemic, that there is circulation and we want to collaborate in minimizing the establishment of other chains. In addition, at this time, traveling is an uncertain matter, it may be that they may become stranded, unable to return,” said Salas.