Wednesday 27 September 2023

Increase of false covid-19 tests at airports alarms the tourism sector

The tourism sector warns of consequences on the country's image and at the health level due to this problem.

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QCOSTARICA – An increase in recent days of international travelers, mainly foreign tourists, detained for presenting false covid test certificates has the Association of Airlines, the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels and the Costa Rican Chamber of Health concerned.

Depatures hall at the San Jose airport

According to information from the Ministerio Publica (Prosecutor’s Office), in January the Airport Police reported the arrest of 40 tourists, mainly foreigners, false covid test results at the Juan Santamaria international airport, also known as the San Jose airport,

For this reason, the three tourism organizations urged the competent authorities to support surveillance and inspection, especially in coastal areas, while warning about the health and country image risks generated by these situations.

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“It is very important to point out the epidemiological impact that the entry of potentially positive people into airports can have. In addition, there are other implications in terms of the country’s image due to the anguish of tourists when they see people escorted from the airport in handcuffs and the government’s spending on resources to address this situation,” said Massimo Manzi, executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Health.

This situation can lead travelers to have problems when leaving Costa Rica since they can be denounced for using a false document and have to pay a fine, in accordance with the legislation, as well as miss their flight and incur additional costs to reschedule their leaving the country.

On the other hand, the Chamber of Hotels urged establishments to support foreign visitors so that tests are carried out in safe laboratories, as well as to report irregular situations to the email

While Costa Rica does not require a covid test to enter, tourists may have to submit to a PCR or Antigen test prior to leaving the country to be able to return home, such as the United States and Canada.

While authorities report on the increase in false certificates, they are elaborating on the source.

Across the country, there are a variety of laboratories providing proper testing and valid certificates. Including a testing center at both international airports in Liberia and San Jose. The cost is generally between US$50 and US$100 per test, depending on the location, the laboratory, and if antigen or PCR, the former costing less.

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