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|2020 coronavirus pandemic in Costa Rica|
Map of provinces with confirmed coronavirus cases (as of 1 April)
Map of cantons with confirmed coronavirus cases (as of 1 April)
|First outbreak||Tocumen International Airport, Panama (first case) and New York, United States (first confirmed)|
|Dates||Arrival: 22 February 2020 |
Confirmed: 6 March 2020
|Ministerio de Salud|
An ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was first confirmed to have spread to Costa Rica on 6 March 2020, after a 49-year-old woman tourist from New York, United States, tested positive for the virus. Since then, as of 1 April 2020, 375 cases were confirmed in the country, causing 2 deaths. The pandemic has triggered a variety of responses from federal, state and local governments, while also impacting politics, education and the economy.
On 22 February, a 54-year-old male Costa Rican citizen arrived from Tocumen International Airport in Panama, he started to show symptoms on 28 February, and due to his work at the San Rafael Hospital in Alajuela, a cluster was formed starting with some of his family members, patients and coworkers. It was treated as a suspicious case, and confirmed on 7 March.
On March 5, the Costa Rican Ministry of Health announced that it was investigating a possible first case of coronavirus in the country. It was a 52-year-old Costa Rican woman from the canton of Pococí, who visited Italy and Tunisia and returned to the country on February 29 without symptoms. The pertinent tests were carried out on the woman and they were sent to the Costa Rican Institute of Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health (Inciensa) to either rule out or confirm the case. However, this case was ruled out 24 hours after the test was performed.
On 6 March, the first case in Costa Rica was confirmed, which was also the first such case in Central America. The individual was a 49-year-old American woman who had arrived on a flight from New York on 1 March. She did not exhibit symptoms at the time. She was isolated in a San José lodging along with her husband who had also been in contact with infected persons in New York.
On 7 March, four new cases were confirmed. One of them was directly related to the first case, both being US citizens who were visiting Costa Rica. The other cases are Costa Ricans.
On 8 March, another four new cases were confirmed, two of them were imported. Some patients were located at public hospitals while most of the foreign nationals remained at their respective hotels.
On 11 March, a total of 22 confirmed cases was given by the Minister of Health of Costa Rica. 14 men and 8 women of which 19 are Costa Ricans (one of them a pregnant woman) and the other 3 are from other countries. They range from the ages of 10 to 73 years old.It was also announced by the health authorities that there were confirmed cases in the Costa Rican cantons of Alajuela, Escazú, Desamparados, Grecia, Heredia, San José, San Pablo, Santa Cruz and Tibás.
On 12 March, health authorities confirmed a total of 23 cases, the latest case is a local health care worker.
On 13 March, the Ministry of Health confirmed 3 new cases, raising the total number of cases to 26, found in the provinces of San José, Alajuela, Heredia and Guanacaste, plus now the province of Cartago.
On 15 March, the Costa Rican health authorities reported 8 more cases of the virus, for a total of 35. It was reported that there were 19 women and 16 infected men, of whom 30 were Costa Rican and 5 foreigners, with positive cases being registered in San José, Heredia, Guanacaste, Alajuela and Cartago. The media reported 28 adults, 3 older adults and 4 infected minors were infected, while 450 cases were discarded. A total of 350 educational centers have been shut. Three patients were placed in ICU cubicles.Health authorities also confirmed cases in the cantons of Santa Ana, Grecia, Nicoya, La Unión, Poás, Pérez Zeledón, San Pablo and Barva.
On 16 March, the Health Minister confirmed 41 cases of coronavirus in the country.
On 17 March, the Costa Rican health authorities reported 9 new cases. The number of infected women rose to 24 and the number of men to 26, of which 44 are Costa Rican and 6 are foreigners. In addition, the number of cases discarded rose to 720. New cases were confirmed in the cantons of Cartago and Curridabat.
On 18 March, 19 more cases were confirmed for a total of 69. Cases were confirmed in 30 women and 39 men, of whom 63 are Costa Rican and 6 foreign, and of whom 57 represent adults, 7 senior citizens and 5 minors. Cases were also confirmed in the cantons of Goicoechea, Moravia, Santo Domingo, and Santa Bárbara.
One senior citizen, an 87-year-old man, died on 18 March and is the first COVID-19 death in Costa Rica. He was one of 25 people infected by a doctor in Alajuela.
On 19 March, 18 more cases were confirmed for a total of 87. Infected people were found in an age range between 2 and 87 years. There were 35 women and 52 men, of whom 79 are Costa Rican and 8 foreigners. The first case was also announced in the province of Limón, in the canton of the same name. On the afternoon of 19 March, the Ministry of Health announced two more cases for a total of 89, these in Ciudad Quesada, in the canton of San Carlos.
Later, on 19 March, the health authorities announced the second death of a patient with Coronavirus in Costa Rica. It was an older adult, of 87 years old, and resident of Alajuela.
On 20 March, the Ministry of Health confirmed a total of 113 cases, adding a total of 24 more cases. The Ministry also reported the recovery of the first two patients with the virus, who were the two American tourists who were isolated in a hotel in San José. New cases were also reported in the cantons of Vásquez de Coronado and Montes de Oca.
On 21 March, health authorities reported only 4 more cases for a total of 117. This is the lowest number of new confirmed cases since 15 March. In addition, the number of cases discarded rose to 1,190.
On 22 March, the Ministry of Health reported an increase of 17 cases, giving a total of 134, of which 55 represent women and 79 men, and of which 117 are Costa Rican and 17 foreigners, all with an age range between 2 and 87 years. These cases included the first case in Aserrí and the first case in the province of Puntarenas, this one in the city of San Vito, Coto Brus canton. There are also 1,400 cases discarded and 9 people in hospitals, three of them in intensive care.
On 23 March, the Ministry of Health reported a total of 158 confirmed cases, an increase of 24 cases. 68 women and 90 men have contracted the disease.
On 24 March, the health authorities reported an increase of 19 cases for a total of 177. It was reported that the cases comprised people between 2 and 87 years of age, of which 103 are men and 74 are women. 159 are Costa Rican and 18 foreigners. It was also reported that there are 6 people hospitalized, of which 4 are in intensive care. Lastly, 1,619 cases were discarded. The first cases were reported in the cantons of Jiménez, Liberia and Montes de Oro.
On 25 March, a total of 201 cases were reported, for an increase of 24. Of the reported cases, 183 represent Costa Ricans and 18 foreigners, in addition to 1,684 cases discarded. The first cases were reported in the cantons of Orotina, Alvarado, Belén, Flores, Puntarenas and Garabito.
On 26 March, the Ministry of Health reported a total of 231 confirmed cases, an increase of 31. Of the reported cases, 101 represent women and 130 men, of which 209 are Costa Rican and 18 foreigners. In addition, a total of 2331 cases were discarded and 8 cases were being analyzed for discharge. The first cases were reported in the cantons of Sarchí, Oreamuno, El Guarco and Tilarán. Lastly, 5 people were reported to be in intensive care in hospitals. A total of 22 health care workers have contracted the virus so far.
On 27 March, the health authorities reported an increase of 32 cases, for a total of 263, this being the day with the highest number of confirmed cases since the virus arrived in the country. Of the reported cases, 121 represented women and 142 men, of whom 241 are Costa Rican and 20 foreigners. In addition, a total of 2,786 cases were reported to be discarded and a new case was recovered, for a total of 3. The first cases were reported in the cantons of Tarrazú, Mora, San Ramón and Carrillo.
On 28 March, a total of 295 cases were reported, an increase of 32. Of the reported cases, 157 represent men and 138 women, of which 272 are Costa Rican, 21 foreigners and 2 are under investigation. A total of 2912 discarded cases and 9 hospitalized patients were reported, plus 6 in intensive care. So far 52 health workers of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social or CCSS have contracted the virus. The first cases were reported in the cantons of Alajuelita, Turrubares and Naranjo.
On 29 March, the Ministry of Health reported a total of 314 confirmed cases, for an increase of 19. Of the reported cases, 164 represented men and 150 women, of which 290 are Costa Rican and 24 foreigners. A total of 3115 cases were discarded and 13 people were hospitalized. The first case was also reported in the canton of Osa.
On 30 March, health authorities announced an increase of 16 cases, for a total of 330. Cases included 170 males and 160 females, 303 are Costa Ricans and 27 are foreign nationals; 293 are adults, 24 are senior citizens, plus 13 minors. A total of 3362 cases were discarded. One patient has recovered, for a total of 4 recoveries. The Minister of Health warned that the country had just started climbing the curve of cases. The first case was reported in canton of San Isidro.
On 31 March, the Minister of Health reported a total of 347 cases, an increase of 17. Cases consisted of 180 males and 167 females, 320 were Costa Ricans and 27 were foreign nationals. They had discarded 3498 cases and the number of patients hospitalized rouse to 15, 8 of them were in intensive care units.
On 1 April, the Ministry of Health reported a total of 375 confirmed cases, for an increase of 28. Of the reported cases, 194 represent men and 181 women, of which 346 are Costa Rican and 29 foreigners. In addition, a total of 3843 discarded cases were reported. The first case was also presented in the canton of Esparza.
On 8 March, the Costa Rican Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Committee (CNE) raised the sanitary alert level to yellow.
On 12 March, the Minister of Health stated Costa Rica will not close its borders to international visitors at that time. The CNE has launched the brand new 1322 Covid-19 help line. Leaders of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic signed an agreement for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. It includes canceling the Costa Rican film festival.
On 15 March, the Ministry of Education of Costa Rica decided to temporarily suspend lessons in a total of 317 educational centers, representing 7% of Costa Rica's educational centers. Closures included educational centers with confirmed cases of COVID-19, all public schools for special education, educational centers belonging to the same school circuit as the educational center where a confirmed case was identified, and educational centers that have been affected by prolonged water rationing.
Moreover, an executive agreement between the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, and the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, granted health authority to the members of the Costa Rican Public Force (the police enforcement agency) for the surveillance and control of the virus, both to verify the closure of bars, clubs and casinos, as well as to ensure 50% of visiting capacity for the other meeting centers. Businesses that do not comply with the new sanitary policy will be subject of a 30 day long closure.
On 16 March, the government also decreed a state of national emergency, due to the threat of the virus after being present in the country for only 10 days. In addition, lessons were suspended in all public and private schools and colleges until 4 April. Access to the country was also reduced to only Costa Ricans and permanent residents, a measure that will start a minute after midnight on 18 March and last until 12 April. Those entering must remain in quarantine for at least 14 days.
On 20 March, after the school kitchen workers refused to serve students, the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) agreed on delivering food packages to the parents of their students.
On 23 March, the Ministry of Health and the Government announced new prevention measures against the virus, including the total closure of beaches in the country, the mandatory closure of temples and religious services, and vehicle restriction in the main cities of the country from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.. All residents and refugees will lose their migratory status if they leave the country for any reason.
On 24 March, the government announced they will temporarily reduce their in person workforce by 80% and also void the salary raise approved last January for all public servants except for the police force.
On 26 March, the Finance Minister discussed a bill that the government would be presenting later on. This bill would mean the creation of a solidarity tax that would be deducted from all workers' salaries that earned more than ¢ 500.000. Its goal was helping people impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. Hours later president Carlos Alvarado published that he would not support that bill and stated that "Plan Proteger" consisted of protecting the unemployed and workers already impacted by salary reductions.
On 27 March, the Government announced the extension of the sanitary vehicle restriction on weekends from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. In addition, the Government announced that it was evaluating the implementation of a temporary solidarity tax on wages above ¢ 1.1 million, a measure that would raise up to ¢ 25,000 million per month, however, the Government announced that other sources of income will be processed and that it will present an extraordinary budget of ¢ 225,000 million.
On 28 March, the Minister of Health Daniel Salas announced they would be imposing a new sanitary restriction for all businesses with sanitary permits that serve the public. This measure would begin at 8 p.m. weekends, starting that very same day.
On 30 March, the Ministry of Health sent a bill to the Asamblea Legislativa, the Costa Rican Congress. This bill pretended to reform the article 378 of the Ley General de Salud (General Health Act) in order to impose fines for violating the sanitary restriction or the quarantine, ranging from 1 through 5 base salaries.
On 31 March, the government announced the opening of the new Centro Especializado de Atención de Pacientes con COVID-19 (CEACO), a center specialized in Covid-19 patients at the facilities of CENARE. It reinforced the services provided by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) in Costa Rica by treating up to 88 Covid-19 patients in intermediate or continuing care units.
On April 1, with Holy Week and Easter approaching, the government announced new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 during this time when people are used to going out and vacationing. The main measure was to extend the night driving restriction from Friday, April 3 and until Tuesday, April 7, from 5:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. throughout the country. Long-distance public transport will also be restricted, and establishments with sanitary operating permits and attention to face-to-face public will be closed.
In addition, the Legislative Assembly approved two bills to increase the fines for noncompliance with sanitary orders and vehicle restriction. Fines ranging from ₡450,000 (US$780) to ₡2.2 million (US$3,800) would be applied if a person having risk factors and being a suspected or confirmed case of the disease fails to comply with the isolation order. In the case of the traffic law reform, drivers could be subject to a fine of ₡107,000 (US$185), a loss of six points on their license, and removal of license plates if they violate the restriction.
By 25 March, the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Business Chambers of the Central American Isthmus reported that around 3% of the companies have reduced their workforce, with such figure projected to grow to 55% in a month. Other projections forecast an 18% of suspended operations and 11% of definitive closures.
On 25 March, the Costar Rica Institute of Tourism declared the tourism sector in a total emergency and calamity state; a zero visitors season is expected for at least three months. 
On 26 March, the Chamber of Restaurants and Bars of Costa Rica (CACORE) reported 109,000 laid off workers, and 42% (7,980) of the affiliated businesses were closed.
As of 2 April 2020, there were 396 confirmed cases in Costa Rica along with 2 deaths, both senior citizens of the age of 87, and 6 recoveries. The following table shows the confirmed COVID-19 cases by province and canton in Costa Rica.
|San José||San José||44||177||0||0|
|Vásquez de Coronado||4||0|
|Montes de Oca||9||0|
|Montes de Oro||2||0|
|Reported by||San José||Alajuela||Cartago||Heredia||Guanacaste||Puntarenas||Limón||Unknown||Confirmed||Deaths||ICU||Rec||Rej. Tests||Refs|