(QCOSTARICA) The number of COVD-19 infections in the last few days has been staggering, 1,359 new cases in just three days, resulting in the Ministry of Health losing the ability to monitor and follow-up contacts and issue sanitary orders.
As of today, Friday, Costa Rica has a total of 6,845 cumulative cases since March 6, when the first of COVID-19 was confirmed, of which 4,709 are active cases, 2,110 recovered and 26 deaths.
The Ministry of Health considers the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) as the country’s epicenter of the pandemic, dropping the “hammer” with an orange alert that aims to minimize the mobilization of people until July 19 with a 24-hour restriction from Monday to Friday and from 5 pm to 5 am on weekends.
The new restrictions to circulation and commerce will be for the next nine days, from Saturday, July 11 to Sunday, July 19, in the GAM and other regions of the country. The remaining areas will continue under the yellow alert conditions.
The measure is part of a plan with which the health authorities intend to recover the trace of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, stop contagions, and avoid the collapse of health services.
In addition to setting a record number of infections, a new record of hospitalizations, 128, was set, of which17 are in intensive care, another high.
The highlights of the measures in the GAM include:
• Total vehicle restriction and total closure of establishments for five days, from Monday 13 to Friday 17 July, both inside and outside the GAM.
• On weekends (Saturday 11 and Sunday 12, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 July) a vehicle restriction will apply throughout the country from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm for access to establishments authorized by the Ministry of Health according to the yellow or orange alert type.
The Minister of Health stressed that we all have a mission to carry out preventive measures and avoid mobilization with the aim of recovering the trail of infections.
The cantons and districts in each of the 7 provinces under orange alert are:
San José Province
- In the GAM, the cantons of San José, Escazú, Desamparados, Aserrí, Mora, Goicoechea, Santa Ana, Alajuelita, Vásquez de Coronado, Tibás, Moravia, Montes de Oca and Curridabat.
- Outside the GAM, the canton of Puriscal
- In the GAM, the cantons of Alajuela, Poás, Atenas, Grecia, Sarchí, Palmares, Naranjo, San Ramón and Zarcero.
- Outside GAM: Upala, Guatuso, Los Chiles, Southeast Sector of the Fortuna District of San Carlos (Tres Esquinas, Los Ángeles, Sonafluca, La Perla, San Isidro, El Tanque, San Jorge, Santa Cecilia); and La Vega and Bonanza in the Florence district of the San Carlos Canton.
- GAM: Cartago, Paraíso, La Unión, Alvarado, Oreamuno and El Guarco.
- GAM: Heredia, Barva, Santo Domingo, Santa Bárbara, San Rafael, San Isidro, Belén, Flores and San Pablo.
- Bagaces, Liberia, Carrillo and Cañas.
- Pococí, Talamanca and Guácimo.
- Golfito, Garabito, Puntarenas (except the districts of Cobano, Lepanto, Monteverde, Isla Chira, Isla Caballo, Isla San Lucas, Isla del Coco and Isla Venado) and Corredores.
Weekend restrictions (Saturday 11, Sunday 12, Saturday 18 and Sunday, July 19)
- Vehicle circulation – From 5:00 am to 5:00 pm for authorized establishments. Except for the list of exceptions, plates that cannot circulate: Saturdays: 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 and Sunday: 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9
- Establishments enabled on weekends in Orange alert cantons: supermarkets, pharmacies, medical centers, grocery stores, suppliers, bakeries, butchers, greengrocers, home service, home food service, agricultural, veterinary and hygiene supplies, banks, funeral homes, farmers’ fairs with fringe differentiated for older adults from 5:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
- Establishments enabled on weekends in cantons on yellow alert: Beauty salons, places of worship, beaches from 5:00 am to 9:30 am, hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, cinemas and theaters at 50% capacity, farmer fairs with a differentiated strip for older adults from 5:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., among others.
Weekday restrictions: (Monday, July 13 to Friday, July 17)
In the orange alert cantons:
- 24-hour total vehicle restriction, for access to supermarkets, pharmacies and health centers. Only the following plates may circulate, from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm: Monday: 1 and 2, Tuesday: 3 and 4, Wednesday: 5 and 6, Thursday: 7 and 8, and Friday: 9 and 0.
That is, only two plates can circulate and only for local shopping needs
- Public transportation (buses and taxis and special service vehicles for employees) may operate up to 20%.
- The only establishments enabled to operate:
1. Essential productive activities (Agriculture, fisheries and food industry, medical devices and their parts, production of chemical substances and pharmaceutical products, information and communication technology services and contact center operations that support essential activities Inside and outside of the country). The foregoing includes the supply chains of materials, services, products and equipment essential for such activities.
2. Supermarkets, suppliers, grocery stores and mini-supermarkets, only those corresponding to the section for the sale of food, beverages, groceries, cleaning and hygiene supplies, and basic needs.
3. Bakeries, butchers and greengrocers.
4. Pharmacies and medical centers.
5. Home service (exclusive for food, pharmacy, veterinary, hardware and locksmith).
6. Agricultural, veterinary and hygiene supplies.
7. Funeral homes.
8. Centers of the network of child care and development and Centers of care for people in vulnerable conditions.
9. Hotels that provide accommodation services to Public Administration officials or public service providers (banking, transportation of values, communications, electricity) or are people who are working in the distribution service of merchandise or food items and first need, medicines, agricultural or veterinary supplies.
10. Farmer’s fairs, with a differentiated strip for older adults from 5:00 am to 8:30 am.
- The list of exceptions to the vehicle restriction is reduced to essential productive activities, establishments authorized by the Ministry of Health and basic services. Complete list is here.
- Public institutions must maximize telework and maintain in person exclusively those essential operational services, as well as those required for emergency care. The rest of public servants should apply accumulated vacations or advance of vacations.
“The objective of the closure measures is to recover the traces of the infections, that is not going to be achieved immediately, but what we are looking for is to have that vital tracking for health management again. In this objective, we all have a mission: preventive measures and avoid mobilization, ”said Daniel Salas, Minister of Health.
Alexander Solís, president of the CNE, indicated at the press conference that “for the success of these measures, it is necessary to unite efforts, so that, as a whole, the community, local governments, private companies and institutions reinforce the plans to reduce risk and compliance with measures. ”
For her part, Minister Pilar Garrido Gonzalo stressed that “epidemiological indicators show that we must carry out a forceful closure measure to protect life, health and the productive fabric. We will apply the hammer now, to mitigate the net economic impact of the pandemic”.
In the rest of the country (cantons on yellow alert), the phase 3 restrictions will continue:
- Vehicle circulation will be from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, with ordinary license plate distribution and a complete list of exceptions (all productive activities and work centers).
- Establishments with sanitary operating permits may open regularly from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, depending on the current reopening phases.
- The operation of places of worship of a maximum of 75 people,
- beaches from 5:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.,
- hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, cinemas and theaters are maintained at 50%,
- farmer fairs with a differentiated strip for older adults from 5:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., among others
- Public transport is maintained on a regular basis, taxis and special transport for workers and tourism.
Vehicle restriction differentiated border areas
The differentiated vehicle restriction is maintained, due to the border area, from Monday to Sunday from 5:00 pm to 5:00 am in the cantons of: La Cruz, Upala, Guatuso, Los Chiles, San Carlos: Aguas Zarcas, Cutris, Pital, Pocosol and Venice. In addition, the Southeast Sector of the Fortuna District of San Carlos (Tres Esquinas, Los Ángeles, Sonafluca, La Perla, San Isidro, El Tanque, San Jorge, Santa Cecilia); and La Vega and Bonanza in the Florence district, Districts of Plains of Gaspar and Curuña of the canton of Sarapiquí, Pacuarito and Reventazón districts of the canton of Siquirres, The districts of La Rita, Roxana.