This Sunday Costa Rican families took advantage of the sunny day to go for stroll the different points of the country, despite a call to stay home.
A combination of great weather, pay weekend that meant money to fill the jalopy’s gas thank and that on Monday (today), many schools would be closed. Its vacation time!
Close to home, the Ojo de Agua, in Belen, was full of people. La Sabana and La Paz parks the same. Not huge crowds, yet crowds nonetheless.
At the beaches, Playa Jaco was crowded when it should have been empty. Reports from Guanacaste, Tamarindo was “repleto”.
This means that the request of the Ministry of Health and the call by President Carlos Alvarado for people to stay home to prevent contact with people who could be infected with the coronavirus fell on dead ears.
On Sunday, at the mid-day press conference, Health Minister Daniel Salas showed his anger, especially in the face of reports of the metropolitan area bar scene Friday and Saturday nights.
“We are going to take a ‘vueltica’ (ride, walk, etc) because we are bored in the house,” was common answer by people questioned by local media why they were out and about.
“We’re packing gel alcohol” was another common answer.
Some did restrain, saying they had planned to go to the beach, but they got a little concerned and decided to take in the local parks instead.
“It is typical that we Ticos believe we are immune and that nothing will happen to us,” said a frustrated Minister of Health during the Sunday press conference.
“Let’s not think that this is not going to touch (affect) me. We all have someone close to us who have risk factors (high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, older adults) and we don’t want to see them in an intensive care unit,” Salas explained.
One Tico, a doctor, decided to denounce one particular situation, that of a mother who took her two children to the beach, to end up in a medical center, in Guanacaste where he works.
On his Facebook page, Dr. Fernando Vásquez Lizano criticized the woman for clearly not heeding to the warning to stay home due to the coronavirus.
“I’m on call, making free use of my profession with pleasure, but I want to know: what the hell is a lady doing with two young children who fell while at the beach, who live in Hatillo and took advantage of the fact that they closed the school to come to the beach? They got hurt and are now waiting for an x-ray,” he said.
Dr. Vásquez works at a Guanacaste medical center.
“They are given (medical) attention, the Caja belongs to everyone, but isn’t it that we are in a situation of yellow alert due to the virus that threatens people’s lives in a real way?” he said.
Besides running the risk of contagion, the doctor points out that situations like this will tax the health system, even collapse it in a short time if people don’t take action. “We must learn from the Italian experience. Let’s take it seriously,” he said.
“It is best to stay at home to read a book, turn off the internet so that they are not so distressed, and stop sharing information and activate solidarity,” he added.
As of this morning, the doctor’s post of Sunday has received more than 30K shares and 2.2K comments.