The coronavirus will arrive in Costa Rica sooner or later and no action taken will stop it. This was stated at a Wednesday afternoon press conference by Costa Rica’s Health Minister Daniel Salas.
“We cannot prevent it from reaching our country, we just don’t know when it will (…). It is imminent to reach everyone, there will be no country to be saved. What must be done is to take containment measures, detect cases when they arise and isolate them,” said Salas.
“… We may have a suspicious case in the next few days or weeks,” the minister added.
“The fear that has arisen around this issue suggests that the majority of the population is at risk of becoming seriously ill and that is not correct,” said the Minister of Health.
Some measures could delay the arrival of the lethal virus, such as denying the entry of people from China, Italy, South Korea, and Iran, countries with confirmed cases.
Costa Rica will take only 12 hours to diagnose infection with the new coronavirus; IT acquired supplies for testing to be carried out locally; until today, no suspicious cases have been detected. Ministry of Health
Salas said that that protocol is not being applied because some people who carry the virus will have no symptoms and may be infected from other places.
Costa Rica does not have, at this time, any confirmed or suspected cases. The closest the COVID-19 to Costa Rica is the first confirmed case in Latin America to be in Brazil.
Nor does Costa Rica have any direct flights from China, South Korea, Italy or Iran, the four countries with the highest issues with the coronavirus.
It does, however, have direct flights from other European countries such as France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK that could see visitors arriving from those countries.
At the international airports, visitors are asked if they have been in those four countries in the last 14 days or if they have a fever greater than or equal to 38° C (100.4 F), cough or sore throat and in the most severe cases, respiratory distress.
The good news, according to Salas, is that in case national authorities detect a suspicious case, following the protocol of the World Health Organization (WHO), Costa Rica is able to confirm or rule out cases because it has a test called chain reaction of polymerase in real time.
A person who is suspected of having the virus is isolated, that test is applied and the result is available in as little as 12 hours.
Health officials warn that people who should be more careful not to get the virus are the hypertense, diabetics, people with respiratory diseases such as asthma and seniors.
“In children, there has been no significant impact in terms of severity,” said the minister. “To the list of the vulnerable, we must add smokers, vapers and people with immune system diseases,” added the minister.
Mario Ruiz, medical manager of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) emphasized that the coronavirus is transmitted by contact and by saliva.
To contract the coronavirus it is necessary that there be an epidemiological link, that is, that the person who has not left their house or received strangers, can hardly be infected.
The minister said they will not close borders to Chinese or Italians, Iranians or Koreans.
“That is because of the biosecurity profile of the virus that is not very lethal. The closing of borders delays the arrival a few days, but will always arrive, it will do so from other countries with more vulnerable systems. It is not a measure (the closing of borders) that is considered effective,” he said.
El Salvador earlier this week, announced a ban on visitors from Italy and South Korea.