Costa Rica will resume its weekend daytime driving restrictions starting this Saturday. Click here for more details.
The Presidency has issued the following statement explaining why it considers the measure necessary:
Given the accelerated increase in Covid-19 cases, the high rate of reproduction of the virus, limited hospital capacity and the circulation of new variants of the virus, the authorities announced on Thursday the new application of the health restriction vehicles by license plates at the weekend, from this Saturday April 17 and Sunday April 18.
In one month, infections and the number of people hospitalized have doubled, while the number of people who have died has also increased, an upward trend that is highlighted in this week’s data and that growth is expected to continue. Today, there have been more than 1,100 new positives for COVID-19 and 498 people hospitalized.
Daniel Salas, Minister of Health, explained the need to take action in the current epidemiological context.
“We note with great concern the continued increase in cases every day, in addition to the growth in deaths. This leads us to take an immediate measure which is the restriction of weekends because of the plates, it is a measure which has statistically shown to have a force and a significant impact on mobilization and infections. “
By resuming many usual activities, the need for medical attention due to traffic accidents, conflicts, injuries and other illnesses, requires the use of beds that were previously reserved for COVID patients. In recent days, the intensive care occupancy rate has reached up to 90%. Added to this is an increase in the number of consultations for symptoms of cough and fever across the country; it is an indicator of a greater circulation of respiratory viruses like COVID-19.
Mario Ruiz, medical director of the CCSS explained the increase in hospitalizations: “We are treating patients for other illnesses, traffic accidents, gunshot wounds and surgeries; patients who may also require an intensive care unit. Hospital pressure is increasing every day, it is increasing between 10 and 20 patients because of COVID-19 every day. “
Currently, the R (viral reproduction) rate is 1.41. These data mean that 2 sick people will infect, on average, almost 3 others. In a short time, this growth could lead to a health and socio-economic emergency of a level the country has not faced during this pandemic. These data collected and analyzed by scientists from different disciplines indicate that it is imperative to take immediate measures to avoid the saturation of hospitals and thus save lives.
Restriction of vehicles on weekends: an essential measure
In order to slow the increase in infections without affecting the country’s commercial activity, from this Saturday, April 17, the health restriction of vehicles by plates will resume. On Saturday only the plates finished in an even number will be able to circulate and on Sunday only the plates finished in odd number will circulate.
Studies from 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 have shown that reducing mobility is the best measure to reduce the circulation of the virus. .
Restricting weekends combined with proper application of protocols has great potential to reduce infections, according to a study developed by experts at UCR. In addition, scientists have found a relationship between the increase in cases and the elimination of vehicle restriction on weekends.
On the other hand, as announced at the beginning of the week, control operations both in the streets and in commercial establishments will intensify. “We will increase the number of sanitary restriction operations of vehicles by license plates, in addition the Police Force and other police officers will check the gauges so that they comply with the regulations in force”, announced Eduardo Solano, vice-president. Minister of Public Security.
At the same time, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) will continue its vaccination strategy for the first two vulnerable groups. As of Monday’s deadline, 586,799 doses had been applied with an increase in vaccination each week.
The health, safety and emergency teams will continue their hard work to take care of everyone’s lives. The authorities have launched a new appeal to the population to respect the sanitary rules, in addition to always maintaining distance, hand washing and the use of masks.
Minister Salas called on the entire population to voluntarily reduce their mobility and not to expose themselves unnecessarily. “We ask that all mobilizations that are not extremely necessary try to reduce them. Plan well the trips you are going to make and how you are going to do them, because any mobility that can be avoided helps to save lives.
Information by official means
The health restriction of vehicles by plates on weekends and control operations are the two measures proposed to contain the spread of the virus. There are no measures to close activities and the restriction schedule is not changed on any day. All other information is false. Therefore, the authorities requested information through official sources such as the site presidencia.go.cr/alertas.
Due to the noticeable increase in the number of cases, the Ministry of Health has resumed the daily publication of the data on its website www.ministeriodesalud.go.cr. The publication will be from Monday to Friday before 7:00 p.m.