Friday 27 January 2023

Health evaluates asking for negative PCR test again to enter the country

Health Surveillance Officials are analyzing once again the tequirement was eliminated last October

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27 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The Health Surveillance Directorate of the Ministry of Health is evaluating the possibility of again requiring a negative PCR covid-19 test to travelers who enter Costa Rica.

This measure had been eliminated on October 22.

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The possibility of reinstating the provision was recognized this Wednesday morning by the interim Minister of Health, Pedro González, during a press conference.

“This specific requirement is under analysis by the technical groups. It was removed at the time because the negative test, due to the characteristics of the test and the disease, did not give certainty that the traveler did not have the disease, could be asymptomatic or in the incubation period, and this would possibly not be reflected in the result of the test,” said González.

“At this moment it is being analyzed if these requirements are to be put back in,” he added.

The interim Minister did not specify when the analysis would be completed and when if the measure would be reinstated.

The United States announced this Tuesday that it will request the negative test from all those who enter their country by air as of January 26.

Canada also requires as of January 7 a negative PCR test for all travelers to that country.

PAHO with caution

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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) gave its opinion of requesting negative tests for entry to any country during its press conference this Wednesday morning.

“PAHO does not support the use of tests as tools to mitigate the spread of covid-19,” said Ciro Ugarte, PAHO’s Director of Emergencies.

The specialist pointed out that this is due to several reasons. The first is that not all tests have the same level of confidence. Furthermore, this creates a sense of false security.

“The result of the test takes into account the moment in which it was taken, but the person can be infected at any time between the sample was taken and the trip began,” exemplified Ugarte.

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For the specialist, another reason is that this forces countries to have a system that ensures their travelers that they have tests available to take before traveling.

He added that rapid antigen tests should prioritize efforts to search for cases within the country and not for travelers.

Ugarte stated that there are other measures that have more impact on public health, such as performing a PCR test upon arrival in the destination country.

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