President Carols Alvarado, during the Monday mid-day briefing on the coronaviurs covid-19 in Costa Rica, announced several measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus and an increase in the number of confirmed cases – 158 as of Monday – in the country.

One of those measures affects legal residents in Costa Rica.

The president said that residents or refugees who “abandon” (leave) Costa Rica during the national emergency will lose their residency status.

This measure applies to all residents of all nationalities, though many feel it is aimed at the large Nicaraguan population in Costa Rica who may leave the country for lack of employment or during the Semana Santa, a major travel period for Nicaraguans to visit their families in the homeland.

Under the previous measure, residents who left the country would be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Under the new measure, having lost residency, would not be allowed in due to measure that allows entry only to Costa Rican nationals and legal residents in the country.

The measure affects all residents of all nationalities.

The Minister of Security, Micheal Soto explained: “People (foreigners) who have a status (residency) in the country, if they leave, that condition will be eliminated. With this what we intend is to prevent people from leaving the country, it is not convenient, we want everyone to have it very clear: the person who has a status (residency) even when they an applicant, will not be able to return to the country because that condition will be removed.”

The leaving applies to air, land and sea departures.

At this time we have yet to get a clear understanding if this measure applies only to those who leave the country after today, Monday, March 23, 2010, and if to residents who currently out of the country.

This is in development and this report will be updated as more information is made available.