QCOSTARICA – The measures announced by the Government to reduce COVID-19 infections and hospital saturation unleashed a wave of reproaches, from one sector, and a breath of relief in others.
With hospitals full of patients and waiting lists for transfers to other medical centers, the provisions were insufficient, in the opinion of the health personnel.
“Poor and offensive for those who, exhausted and overwhelmed, give their all in hospitals,” said the Unión Médica Nacional (National Medical Union) in a statement.
So serious is the situation in medical centers that the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) management even asked to declare a hospital red alert.
The answer has not yet come.
For the owners of commercial establishments, on the other hand, expanding the daytime health vehicle restriction to the entire country and reducing traffic volumes are balanced actions that allow them to continue commercial activity that is healthy for the economy.
“We can no longer have more closures,” argued Julio Castilla, president of the Cámara de Comercio (Chamber of Commerce), who estimated the losses in the commercial sector in the first year of the emergency at US$2.3 billion dollars.
With the new provisions, Castilla considers that there is a controlled and sustained opening of the economy.
He believes that before stopping activities, the Government could apply other measures such as massive saliva diagnostic tests, rush vaccination, create a mobile application to report agglomerations and maintain awareness campaigns.
The last option, he said, would be to evaluate more restricted mobility.
Doctors and other health professionals are seeking a more forceful response such as the declaration of red alert and that depends on the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE). – National Emergency Commission.
The executive president of the CNE, Alexánder Solís, warned that a red alert would paralyze the country and has a connotation of natural disaster.
He also affirms that this declaration would not alleviate the current congestion of patients and would rather impact jobs and economic activity in general. Along the same lines, he argued that such a decision would limit constitutional rights and it is not feasible to apply throughout the national territory.
His words drew criticism and were not welcomed in the health sector.
“Deeply disappointed,” said Marco Vargas, head of the Specialized Center for Covid-19 Patient Care (Ceaco), on his Twitter account in the same way as other medical personnel from their own social networks.
“Patients and the future dead deserve respect, decision-makers cannot assume ignorance. Not now,” added Vargas in another tweet.
For Viviana Pérez, president of the College of Therapists (CTCR), more severe measures are required including the suspension of face-to-face classes in schools and colleges.
The other side of the coin
The tourism, restaurants and construction sectors joined in the opposite direction: pleased that there are no closings and opposed to that possibility.
“We are satisfied because there is balance. We recognize that on this occasion the Government was more open to dialogue and listen to the productive sectors to find that balance,” said the president of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), Rubén Acón.
Also, Javier Pacheco, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH), was pleased of the coordination which for him is the correct way to mitigate infections and preserve the momentum of the economy.
The measures applied, he said, are necessary to reduce the saturation in hospitals.
The businessmen assured that they were aware that the application of protocols and respect for capacity are absolutely essential to stop the cases and that their businesses remain open.
“We strongly urge all our affiliates, entrepreneurs in general in the food and beverage sector, and citizens, to comply with the protocols,” said Jorge Figueroa, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Restaurants (Cacore).
He appreciated that the limits are applied to the mobility of people instead of locks on doors.
The Costa Rican Chamber of Construction also called on citizens on Tuesday so that, due to the serious situation in the country, they are responsible for the application of health protocols, both at worksites and at home.
“Lowering the contagion curve is everyone’s responsibility,” said that organization in a statement where it proposes “ensuring everyone’s health, but also economic recovery.”
The group supported the words of Alexánder Solís, which hurt the medical staff so much.
The businessmen agree that the declaration of a red alert does not solve the current situation, on the contrary, it would mean the total closure of the country with serious consequences.