As part of the new rules for regional truckers, to resume the flow of cargo across the borders, Costa Rica said it will not test all foreign truckers for COVID-19 upon entering the country.
On Monday, Foreign Trade Minister and the Health Minister, Daniel Salas, announced the new regulations that apply at the country’s land borders with Panama and Nicaragua.
According to Salas, they learned several lessons with the experience they had for weeks with these drivers, lining up at their respective side of the borders and the skirmish with Nicaraguan authorities who stopped truck traffic entering their territory as retaliation.
Before the re-opening of the borders, the line on the Costa Rican side was up to 15 kilometers from the border, and reportedly about 10 km on the Nicaraguan side of truckers looking to enter Costa Rica.
“We have considered that we are going to handle them through very safe channels, that have police escort measures, timed stays, that they do not leave the bonded warehouse or the company at their final destination.
We will have a sanitary order for the driver and the company to ensure they comply with measures in place to reduce contagion of the virus, explained the Ministry of Health.
“The nationals do (that is they will be tested), because they live here, they have their family and their roots and we can have them in quarantine,” explained Salas.
For her part, Minister Jiménez detailed the protocol that will be applied with truckers to guarantee the flow of goods but also the application of sanitary measures.
- Each foreign trucker that enters will undergo temperature and symptom review.
- There is an established route they must take.
- They must indicate which bonded warehouse they will drop the load or pick up.
- The truckers will be tracked by GPS or police escort.
- There will be rest points along the routes.
- The bonded warehouses will have facilities to need basic needs (ie toilets, water, etc).
- Refrigerators or perishable products, as bulk products such as grains, will be delivered to their final destination without a stop at a bonded warehouse.
- Hitching and unhitching (intermodal service) is still an option a driver can accept.
- Truckers moving cargo border-to-border (ie Nicaragua to Panama and vice-versa) they will travel in police-escorted caravans.