QCOSTARICA – The sharp increase in the number of new daily cases of covid and people requiring hospitalization is the reason for the bringing back the vehicular restrictions on the weekends, explained Health Minister, Daniel Salas.
Starting this weekend, Saturday, April 17, only vehicles with even number ending license plates (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) and odd number ending plates (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) on Sunday, April 18, can circulate between 5:00 am and 11:00 pm.
The restriction is countrywide and will be in effect on weekends until further notice.
The nighttime restrictions continue in effect from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am every day; as the restrictions weekdays in the central area of San Jose.
The “official” details on the vehicular restrictions and exemptions can be found at https://sites.google.com/presidencia.go.cr/alertas
For this Thursday, 1,121 new positive cases were confirmed, more than double the daily cases in the last couple of months, and 507 hospitalized people were registered, of which 236 are in intensive care, according to the report of the Ministry of Health.
“We note with great concern the sustained increase in cases every day, in addition to the growth in deaths. This leads us to take an immediate measure that is the restriction on weekends for plates. It is a measure that has statistically shown to have a strength and an important impact on mobilization and infections,” said Health Minister Daniel Salas.
Costa Rica was doing well right to and including Semana Santa, which is believed that many threw caution to the wind, putting aside measures such as tweaking a mask and social distancing while vacationing.
Since the beginning of last week, the number of daily cases grew sharply, on many days more than double the daily average for many weeks before. With that the number of people requiring a hospital bed, while the number of deaths from causes associated with the covid-18 virus also increased.
The concern is the capacity of hospital services to meet the sharp demand to the contagion of covid-19, in addition to pressure by the attention of traffic accidents, conflicts due to violent events and other pathologies, requiring hospital beds.
“Hospital pressure is increasing every day, it increases between 10 and 20 patients due to covid-19 every day,” said the medical manager of the Caja, Mario Ruiz.
According to the report by Dr. Salas, the virus’s reproduction rate or contagion rate is currently 1.41; which means that 100 sick people will infect another 141.
The measure restricting vehicles only on weekends aims to slow down the increase in infections without hitting too hard commercial activity.
The authorities upheld the decision is based on various studies by the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the State of the Nation Program, as well as international research from the United Kingdom, China, the United States and Italy, which have shown that the reduction of mobility is the best measure to reduce the circulation of the virus.
According to the analysis of the UCR, the restriction on weekends combined with an adequate application of protocols potentially affects the reduction of infections.
In addition, due to the rise in the number of cases, the Ministry of Health will resume providing a daily report on the status of the infections and hospitalizations. Last month the report was being provided twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.