QCOSTARICA – Given the considerable rebound in covid-19 cases expected in the coming days, the government of Carlos Alvarado has decided it’s hammer time, starting Tuesday, January 11 to Sunday, January 23.
This Monday morning, Health authorities announced to extend the hours of the nighttime vehicle restriction between 10 pm and 5 am.
While the nighttime sanitary vehicle restriction is country-wide, the daytime remains only for downtown San José (the Circunvalacion being the delimiter) for weekdays, based on the last digits of the license plate. On weekends drivers will be able to circulate during the day.
Among other measures announced this Monday by the Government, commercial establishments with a sanitary operating permit or “patente” in Spanish, will now be able to open from 5 am to 10 pm from Mondays to Sundays.
Additionally, only 20 standing passengers will be allowed on buses in this period, authorities reported.
And, until January 23, all events with a massive presence of people such as concerts and sports activities will be suspended; among others. However, sports competitions and cultural events can be held without fans in the stands, authorities indicated.
Cinemas, theaters, academic activities, and places of worship remain in operation, with the application of sanitary protocols.
The authorities justified the measures given an increase in consultations and diagnoses related to covid-19 infections. The announcement was made
Alexánder Solís, president of the National Emergency Commission (CNE), made the announcement at the National Children’s Hospital (Hospital de Niños) in San Jose, during the launching ceremony of the vaccination campaign for minors.
Solís justified the measures given the increase in consultations and diagnoses related to Covid-19 infections and called on the population to denounce and refrain from going clandestine mass activities.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Pedro González, added that the telework guideline is maintained in public institutions except for essential services, customer service offices, regional offices, and emergency care. He also called on the private sector to keep as many teleworking positions as possible.
Meanwhile, President Carlos Alvarado, indicated that it was a mistake to classify omicron as a mild variant.
“There may be a high number of hospitalizations and we have seen this in the United States and European countries where the level of contagion is such that there is greater hospitalization. That is why the moment we are in is so important. No one takes pleasure in this type of measure, but we must understand the need for protection,” Alvarado explained.
On Friday last, the Universidad Hispanoamericana (UH) released their weekly report, disclosing that the contagion rate of covid-19 in Costa Rica reachds the highest levels in the history of the pandemic: 2.12.
This means that a group of 100 people with the SARS-Cov-2 virus, which causes covid-19, would infect 212 (these people would infect more than double). This indicator, also called the R rate, measures the speed of virus transmission in a given period of time.
This significant upturn in cases due to the new omicron variant forced the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) to reactivate their strategy of scaling up beds to manage patients with the virus.
Although this strain is less severe than has been seen during the year, the number of cases and the accelerated level of contagion could saturate health services in weeks.
Caja authorities warned on Saturday, projecting an escalation of up to 5,000 new cases a day for next week.
For two consecutive days last week, Thursday, January 6, and Friday, January 7, the last days the Ministry of Health published numbers, there were 2,981 and 3,153, respectively.
As of Friday, the number of active cases of covid-19 grew to 15,346 from a low of 1,278 on December 21, 2021.
The number of people in hospital with covid-19 on Friday was 180, of which 51 were in the ICU, up from the 114 and 45 on January 1.