(QCOSTARICA) Health Minister Dr. Daniel Salas on Thursday reminded the business sector and regional leaders that people’s lives, at stake during the covid-19 pandemic, are priceless, just as Costa Rica proposes a pilot plan to streamline the transit of commercial goods from Central America through the country.
During the noon press conference, to date, Salas said, the region has accumulated 495 deaths and more than 18,000 infected with covid-19. “(…) we cannot put a price on that. And that is why we are here, in this, because we know that people’s lives do not have a price. No one can say that commercial cargo is worth more than the lives of the people at stake in the midst of this pandemic.
“Because we are very clear about what our priority is as a country, which is, to defend the life and health of people, and us why we apply the measures that we are applying. With that zeal and that vehemence is how we will continue to do it, because any commercial transaction cannot be above the life of any person,” said Salas, in one of the strongest interventions since the beginning of this national emergency.
Shortly after providing the daily report of confirmed cases, today 903, Salas responded to journalists about the costs associated with the disruption in commercial land transportation across borders caused by the pandemic.
It also sparked a strong reaction by the President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, accusing Costa Rica of closing its borders to trade. On the Nicaraguan side of the Peñas Blancas, as a pressure tactic, the Ortega government is preventing the passage of truckers in both directions.
“I want to refer to the commercial losses that have been generated in the midst of this with the issue of truckers. But I would like to ask those who pose this situation: we already have 495 deaths in Central America, including Belize. More than 18,000 cases, many hospitalized, and those deaths and those hospitalized, we cannot be put a price on,” Salas said.
Since the beginning of May, Costa Rica has not allowed the entry of truckers at either border with respiratory symptoms and made it mandatory for any commercial cargo carrier entering Costa Rica to test negative for the covid-19.
To date, 46 truckers have tested positive and were not authorized to enter Costa Rica.
To resolve the problem with commercial transport at the borders, the Minister of Foreign Trade, Dyalá Jiménez, explained a pilot plan to start this Friday, with the hitching or unhitching of the trailers, or the driver reliefs, on defined routes from border customs to bonded warehouses.
She also announced the continuation of travel by caravans escorted by police.
There will be special customs warehouses authorized by Health so that carriers arrive with the cargo, rest, and load/unload cargo if necessary.
For this, GPS will be used to track movements of transit from and to customs warehouses, the so-called controlled bonded route, that the trucker has up to 72 hours from entry to carry their operation.
The objective is that the truckers enter the country, load and unload their cargo and leave Costa Rica, with as little contact outside the safe areas to reduce possibility of contagion.
This agreement, according to the Minister of Foreign Trade, was signed yesterday afternoon with Panamanian authorities.
“I want to remind Costa Ricans of the importance of trade in the region. Panama is a commercial partner,” said the minister.