Friday 3 February 2023

Starting today, Wednesday, use of mask is optional

The decrees announced by President Rodrigo Chaves, and the Minister of Health, Joselyn Chacón, on the use of masks and vaccination were published in 'La Gaceta', this Wednesday, May 11, hours after the government announced it would postpone publication

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QCOSTARICA – Shortly after midnight, Casa Presidencial reported that, prior to publishing the decrees to eliminate the compulsory use of the mask and vaccination against covid-19, it would request the scientific basis for these decisions from the Comisión Nacional de Vacunación y Epidemiología (CNVE), del Ministerio de Salud – National Commission for Vaccination and Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health.

The decrees announced by President Rodrigo Chaves, and the Minister of Health, Joselyn Chacón, on the use of masks and vaccination were published in ‘La Gaceta’, this Wednesday, May 11

However, surprisingly, they were published in the official newspaper La Gaceta. More surprisingly, the decrees related to the mask and vaccination are dated May 7, that is, one day before it was signed, and Rodrigo Chaves was President.

Another fact that casts doubt on the entire process for making these decisions is that, although Chaves announced that he would eliminate the compulsory nature of the vaccine for public officials, the decree does not establish it that way, but instead urges all public institutions of the State and the Costa Rican private sector not to apply dismissal sanctions in the cases of officials who do not have the covid-19 vaccination scheme, which is currently three doses.

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Additionally, the CNVE is requested to recommend to the Government the list of officials who may be affected by dismissal sanctions in the event of non-compliance, as well as to carry out technical studies that demonstrate “the effect of compulsory vaccination” on the percentage of the population actually vaccinated.

Experts in Constitutional Law indicate that a decision like this, to eliminate compulsory vaccination, should have passed before the CNVE, and in view of what the published decree indicates, that did not happen.

Regarding the use of the mask, decree 43544-S is consistent with what was announced by the President of the Republic on May 8, since it eliminates its mandatory use in closed spaces. It should only be used by hospital staff and patients requiring medical attention.

The new President, Rodrigo Chaves and Minister of Health, Joselyn Chacón, signed the decrees on Sunday, May 8, in the first cabinet meeting of the new government

“All people who are not frontline care personnel or who do not require access to health facilities are exempt from this obligation (the use of the mask). The Ministry of Health must establish, under technical, objective reasons and with a human rights approach, the exceptional cases in which the mandatory use of the mask is excluded.”

From the text published in La Gaceta (May 11)

ARTICLE 3. – Mandatory use of a mask. Based on article 147 of the General Health Law, Law number 5395 of October 30, 1973, provides of the mandatory use of a mask for being personal protective equipment, for all front-line health officials from the country’s public and private sectors, likewise, the use of a mask as a mandatory use for people when they require
access to health facilities in the country.

All persons who are not front-line personnel or who do not require access to health facilities, are exempt from this obligation.

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The Ministry of Health must establish, under technical, objective reasons and with a
of human rights, the exceptional cases in which the use of mandatory of the mask.

The Ministry of Health by decree, may vary the scope of this decree executive, if the epidemiological situation in the country warrants it.”

Regarding vaccination against Covid-19, the decree states that:

Article 1. – All public institutions of the State and the private sector are urged Costa Rican not to apply dismissal sanctions in the cases of officials who do not have the Covid-19 Vaccination Scheme.

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Article 2. The Executive Branch requests the National Vaccination and Epidemiology, which through updated technical and statistical studies, indicates and recommend to the Executive Branch which officials may be affected by dismissal sanctions for non-compliance with the obligation that governs the present.

In the same sense, it urges to carry out technical studies that demonstrate the effect of compulsory vaccination on the percentage of the population than actually vaccinated, including an analysis of the international evidence.

Read the original text (in Spanish) in La Gaceta at the following link: https://www.imprentanacional.go.cr/pub/2022/05/11/ALCA94_11_05_2022.pdf

With its publication, the compulsory use of the mask and vaccination is repealed.

News in development.

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