QCOSTARICA – If you are reading this in the wee hours of Sunday morning, March 6, starting, this is the last of the nationwide sanitary vehicular restrictions.
Once 5 am this Sunday morning rolls around, Costa Rica goes back to the way things were before March 2020, the start of the pandemic.
The elimination of the vehicle restrictions also does away with the restricted hours of businesses, such as bars, restaurants, clubs, retail stores and so on. Businesses with a “patente” (operating permit) will go to their operating hours prior to the pandemic.
With that, starting Monday, March 7, the San Jose license plate restriction returns.
From 6 am to 7 pm weekdays, circulating in the downtown area of San Jose, bounded by the Circunvalacion, will be as follows:
- Mondays, vehicles with plates ending in 1 and 2 will not be able to circulate.
- Tuesdays, vehicles with plates ending in 3 & 4.
- Wednesdays, vehicles with plates ending in 5 and 6.
- Thursdays, vehicles with plates ending in 7 and 8.
- Fridays, vehicles with plates ending in 9 and 0.
In the beginning
On Friday afternoon, March 6, 2020, Costa Rica confirmed that the first case of covid-19 had appeared in the country.
Two years later, 814,583 people (as of Friday, March 4) were infected with covid-19 and 8,082 lost their due to the virus,
Costa Rica never went on a lockdown, as did many countries around the world, opting to limit vehicular circulation.
In the beginning, the restrictions extended from sundown to sunrise, with only emergency vehicles, taxis, buses, and the few with special permits allowed to circulate. As we learned to live with the virus, the vehicular restrictions were eased, starting later and expanding the exemptions.
Vaccines and paradigm shifts also appeared.
To dimension it, January and February 2022 were some of the worst months for new cases of covid-19, but only 6% of hospitalizations, even less for people ending up in the ICU. While the number of deaths soared during the last several months, they never reached the highs of 2021.
During the 24 months that the pandemic has been going on, we’ve lived through the ups and down of restrictions, economic crisis and variants.
In the beginning, there was a lot of talk about herd immunity. Did we achieve it?
Daniel Salas, Minister of Health, the face in the fight against the virus in Costa Rica, explains in this way:
“With the SARS-CoV-2 virus, what was seen is that, for example, the last omicron variant for what is infection, is that with two doses the protection for transmission did drop.
“That aspiration that there would be no more transmission with the vaccine did change what had been expected from the beginning. And what we saw is that immunity against severe disease was very sustained.”
As of February 18, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), reports applying 9,349,535 doses of the vaccine (mainly Pfizer) against covid-19, broken as such:
- First dose: 4,195,968 (81.3% of the total population)
- Second dose: 3,827,352 (74.1% of the total population)
- Third dose: 1.326.215 (25.7%% of the total population)
See here the latest COSTA RICA Vaccination statistics.