Tuesday 6 December 2022

Travelers denounce long lines at San Jose airport due to an apparent lack of immigration staff

Nationals and foreigners, including older adults, queue for more than an hour to enter the country without the possibility of distancing themselves despite the pandemic

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QCOSTARICA – Long lines to enter Costa Rica at the Juan Santamaria International (San Jose) airport during the high season are normal. However, the alleged lack of immigration personnel has produced agglomerations of tourists and nationals upon their entry into the country this Wednesday afternoon.

Long lines at immigration check in at the San Jose airport on Wednesday spilled onto the hallways, reaching the boarding gates.

The complaint was sent to La Nación by passengers who arrived at about 3:30 pm Wednesday. They started reporting around 4 pm long lines and the consequent crowds, while they waited to arrive at the immigration checkpoints.

The saturation of travelers includes the entire waiting area located in front of the immigration control windows and the line extends beyond that area into the terminal, almost reaching the boarding lounges.

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“To give you an idea of ​​the mess, passengers cannot even get off the planes and into the migration hall. There are so many people that we have to queue in the corridors because there is not enough space in that hall. I asked someone at the airport what was happening and that person confirmed that it was due to a lack of immigration personnel at the service windows,” explained Adriana Campos Rojas, a resident of Alajuela, whose flight arrived from Mexico City.

The Costa Rican declared that due to the crowd there is no distancing. What there is, “is an overcrowding with very high possibilities of transmission of covid-19,” the woman told La Nacion.

“As a Costa Rican, I feel sorry that tourists are received in this way. Like us, they were lined up in the corridors of the airport after separating us (in the line for tourists and nationals). There are older adults who have been standing for an hour,” she stated.

The agglomeration at the arrivals hall of the San Jose airport (SJO) on Wednesday

The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería – Costa Rica’s immigration service – did not comment or respond to explain what was happening. Likewise, Aeris, administrator of the airport terminal, declined to refer to the situation.

The situation at the terminal is not new, for many months, agglomerations have been the norm and not the exception, particularly at peak times such as at noontime, with the arrival of numerous flights and late afternoons with the arrival of packed flights from Europe.

The common complaint by passengers, both nationals and tourists, is that, in their opinion, is a lack of sufficient immigration staff to handle the volume of arrivals.

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In the last week, the rate of contagion of covid-19 skyrocketed in Costa Rica, with a reproduction rate, or R rate, rising from 2.09 to 2.12. In some places, like in the province of San Jose, the r rate is 2.69 and 3.03 in Heredia, according to epidemiologist Rónald Evans, who leads the team at the Universidad Hispanoamericana that takes the pulse of that indicator.

Read more: Ómicron increases the rate of contagion of covid-19 in the last week

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health reported 2,542 new infections in a single day. A number that had not been seen for some months. The Omicron variant is responsible for pushing up infections, as one of its most relevant characteristics is its great capacity to infect people.

Have your say. What has been your experience of late at the San Jose airport? Post your comments on our official Facebook page, Twitter or send us an email.

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