(QCOSTARICA) The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, reported this Wednesday, 52 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Costa Rica, the single highest number in a 24 hour period since the first cases on March 6.
With the 52 new cases, the total number of infected rose to 1,157.
So far, the most significant increase had been on April 9, when 37 new cases were reported over the previous day. Since then, cases have oscillated from under 10 for many days, in the teens on many days, and as high as 28 on May 27 and June 1.
“Today is the day when more positive cases have occurred in the country, some of the measures announced yesterday are aimed at preventing more cases in specific areas,” said Salas, referring to the tightening of sanitary vehicle restriction measures in 10 cantons bordering with Nicaragua.
Alexánder Solís, president of the National Emergency Commission (CNE), announced “localized restrictions”, in that in several communities in the region, the COVID-19 alert was raised to “Orange” by the National Emergency Commission (CNE)
The localized restrictions included in the orange alert follows the same restrictions adopted during Semana Santa, in that the vehicular restrictions are from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Friday, based on the last digit of the license plate and weekends evens for Saturdays and odds for Sundays.
The exception to the above vehicular restrictions is traffic on the Ruta 1 (Interamericana Norte) and Ruta 142 (Cañas – Tilarán – La Fortuna) and Ruta 6 (Cañas – Upala), will follow the national restrictions of 5:00 am to 10:00 pm weekdays and 5:00 am to 7:00 pm weekends.
Businesses can open only between 5:00 and 5:00 pm weekdays; on weekends, only supermarkets, grocery stores, pulperias (corner stores), and pharmacies can open.
At night time, from 5:00 pm to 5:00 am all vehicles are restricted.
The localized restrictions begin at 12:01 am Thursday and will be in place for two weeks.
The areas affected are:
- Cariari de Pococí
- Peñas Blancas
- Cañas distrito central
- Bebedero de Cañas
- Las Juntas de Abangares
Fluid application of measures
Minister Salas, in the question period, explained that the localized restrictions are fluid, in that they may be reduced or expanded, removed completely in one area or applied to more areas, depending on the progression of contagion in the affected communities.
Salas said that, unlike in the beginning of the pandemic, there is now experience and localized measures can be applied, not affecting areas where there is none or small numbers of cases.
According to the Health Minister, the increase in cases has been more related to agricultural and packaging activities in rutal zones, as the ones included in the tightened restrictions.
He did not confirm that there is a relationship with truckers, although he recalled that one of those drivers spread the virus through three cantons of Guanacaste, weeks ago.
On the possibility of tightening measures in other areas, it will depend on “when the cases pose a threat”.