The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate https://ticotimes.net Costa Rica’s leading English-language newspaper since 1956, featuring breaking news, regional news, travel, business, sports, entertainment and real estate. Fri, 15 Jan 2021 14:47:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://ticotimes.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-Logo-32x32.png The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate https://ticotimes.net 32 32 FAQ: The United States’ new Covid travel requirements https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/15/faq-the-united-states-new-coronavirus-travel-requirements Fri, 15 Jan 2021 14:47:01 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141345 Costa Rica relies heavily on U.S. tourism, and the CDC's decisions to implement new testing requirements will likely have significant impacts on the sector.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced that all international airline passengers flying to the United States must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before boarding their flight.

The new policy will take effect starting January 26, 2021. It mandates that all air passengers —  including U.S. citizens and permanent residents — get tested for the coronavirus within three days of their flight.

Costa Rica relies heavily on U.S. tourism, and the CDC’s decisions to implement new testing requirements will likely have significant impacts on the sector.

Below are answers to pertinent frequently asked questions about the new policy, from the CDC’s website.

Frequently asked questions

Does this requirement apply to US citizens?

This Order applies to all air passengers, 2 years of age or older, traveling into the US, including US citizens and legal permanent residents.

When do I need to get a test to travel to the US? And what kind of test do I need?

Get tested no more than 3 days before your flight to the US departs. Make sure to be tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen test) to determine if you are currently infected with COVID-19. Also make sure that you receive your results before your flight departs and have documentation of your results to show the airline.

What if I recently recovered from COVID-19?

CDC does not recommend getting tested again in the three months after a positive viral test, as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID-19. If you have had a positive viral test in the past 3 months, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”

Who is checking to make sure that people have a negative test or documentation of recovery before they board a plane to the US?

The airline will confirm a COVID-19 negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding.

What happens if I don’t take a test and want to travel to the US?

Air passengers traveling to the US are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.  Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding. If a passenger chooses not to provide a test result or documentation of recovery, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.

What happens if I test positive?

People should self-isolate and delay their travel if symptoms develop or a pre-departure test result is positive until they have recovered from COVID-19. Airlines must refuse to board anyone who does not provide a negative test result for COVID-19 or documentation of recovery.

What is a verifiable test result?

A verifiable test result must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of a laboratory test result. Testing must be performed using a viral test (NAAT or antigen), and negative results must be provided to the airline prior to boarding. The test result documentation must include information that identifies the person, a specimen collection date and the type of test. A negative test result must show test was done within the 3 days before the flight. A positive test result must show the test was done within the 3 months before the flight.

What kind of documentation of my test result do I need to provide?

CDC requires that air passengers arriving in the US have a paper or electronic copy of their test result for review by the airline before you board and for potential review by public health officials after you arrive in the US.

If I tested negative before my flight, do I need to get another test when I get to the US?

CDC recommends that travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days. Always follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.

Do I need to get a test before leaving the US?

CDC recommends that you get tested with a viral test (NAAT or antigen) 1-3 days before you travel internationally. Travelers should additionally follow any requirements at their destination.

When does this order take effect?

This Order will go into effect on January 26, 2021.

Does this order apply to all flights?  Or just commercial flights?

This order applies to all flights, including private flights and general aviation aircraft (charter flights). Passengers traveling by air into the US are required to have proof of testing regardless of flight type.

If I have one or more connecting flights to the US, does the 3-day period apply to the first flight or the last one?

If you are arriving on a direct flight to the US, your test must be done within the 3 days before your flight to the US departs. If you are arriving to the US via one or more connecting flights, your test must be done in the 3 days before the first flight in your itinerary, but only if the connecting flights were booked as a single passenger record with a final destination in the US and each connection (layover) is no longer than 24 hours long. If your connecting flight to the US was booked separately or a connection in your itinerary lasts longer than 24 hours, you will need to get tested within the 3 days before your flight that arrives in the US.

What happens if my flight is delayed and it goes over the 3-day limit for testing?

If your flight is delayed before departure, you will need to get re-tested if the delay causes your test to fall outside of the 3-day pre-departure testing period requirement.

If I am connecting through the US to another country, do I still need to get tested?

Yes.  Any flight entering the US, even for a connection, will require testing before departure.

What if I have had a COVID-19 vaccine?  Do I still need a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19?

Yes, all air passengers traveling to the US, regardless of vaccination status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.

Where to get tested in Costa Rica

Many private labs and hospitals in Costa Rica offer on-demand PCR coronavirus testing for a fee. These include: Laboratorios Echandi, Hospital La Católica, Hospital Cima, Laboratorios LABIN, Hospital Clínica Bíblica, Laboratorio Páez, Laboratorios San José and Hospital Metropolitano.

The majority of private labs and hospitals can guarantee results within 72 hours. Contact them for more information.

Costa Rica citizens and residents can get tested for free through the Caja, though these resources are typically reserved for people who are symptomatic. Call the coronavirus hotline (dial 1322) for more information.

In a statement to The Tico Times, Costa Rica’s Tourism Board (ICT) says it’s working on expanding testing options for visitors across the country.

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UK bans South American, Panama arrivals over Brazil virus strain https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/15/uk-bans-south-american-panama-arrivals-over-brazil-virus-strain Fri, 15 Jan 2021 14:37:36 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141342 Britain has been one of the worst hit countries in Europe by the pandemic, recording nearly 85,000 deaths and more than 3.2 million cases to date.

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Britain will ban all arrivals from South America, Panama, Cape Verde and Portugal from 0400 GMT Friday over fears of importing a new coronavirus variant in Brazil, the UK government said Thursday. 

“I’ve taken the urgent decision… following evidence of a new variant in Brazil,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter.

“This measure does not apply to British and Irish Nationals and third country nationals with residence rights,” he added.

Shapps said such passengers returning from these destinations must nonetheless self-isolate for 10 days along with their households.

There will be an exemption for hauliers travelling from Portugal to allow transport of essential goods.

The Department for Transport said it was also imposing a ban on direct flights to England from the targeted countries, impacting services from Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal.

The embargo excludes cargo and freight without passengers, but no other exemptions — including those related to employment — would apply, it added.

Numerous virus variants have been identified since the pandemic began last year, including a more contagious one that has led to a surge of infections in Britain in recent months.

However another strain, known as E484K, detected initially in South Africa and on subsequent variants in Brazil and Japan, has raised greater alarm among researchers over its possible impact on immunity.

The UK government has faced criticism over its borders’ policy during the health crisis, initially allowing international arrivals and departures to continue last year even as infections surged.

It then introduced requirements to self-isolate if people have been somewhere that is not on a regularly updated “travel corridors” list.

But from next Monday, travellers will need to present proof of a negative coronavirus test result in order to be allowed into England, or face a £500 ($685, 564 euros) fine on arrival.

The change announced last week was set to begin Friday, but late Wednesday the government said it was delaying its imposition in order to give travellers more time to prepare.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman defended the delay, after it drew fresh criticism of his handling of the crisis.

“We’ve implement a grace period over the weekend… so that passengers can have a little bit more time to ensure that they can get access to the tests that they need that meet our requirements,” he told reporters.

“We will continue to take the actions that we deem appropriate.”

Britain has been one of the worst hit countries in Europe by the pandemic, recording nearly 85,000 deaths and more than 3.2 million cases to date.

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Mexico to host rescheduled CONCACAF Olympic qualifying https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/15/mexico-to-host-rescheduled-concacaf-olympic-qualifying Fri, 15 Jan 2021 06:42:59 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141338 Mexico head Group A, which also includes the United States, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Group B includes Honduras, Canada, El Salvador and Haiti.

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Guadalajara will host the CONCACAF men’s qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics March 18-30, football’s governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean said Thursday.

The tournament was originally scheduled for March of 2020, but called off because of the coronavirus pandemic that eventually saw the 2020 Tokyo Games pushed back to 2021.

Eight participating Under-23 teams had already been drawn into groups of four, with Mexico and Honduras the two seeded tams.

Mexico head Group A, which also includes the United States, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Group B includes Honduras, Canada, El Salvador and Haiti.

After round-robin play, the first and second place finishers in each group will qualify for the semi-finals.

Both finalists will earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

The Jalisco and Akron Stadiums in Guadalajara will be used, with CONCACAF saying in a statement it had worked with world governing body FIFA, the Mexican Football Federation and other stakeholders to develop health protocols “to ensure this competition takes place in a safe environment for all participants.”

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Someone lucky from Costa Rica could win over $1.3 billion in USA lotteries this weekend https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/14/someone-lucky-from-costa-rica-could-win-over-1-3-billion-in-usa-lotteries-this-weekend Thu, 14 Jan 2021 22:01:24 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141323 You can participate in Mega Millions and Powerball draws with official tickets without leaving your home in Costa Rica.

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Mega Millions Lottery Jackpot has soared to an estimated $750 million — the second highest prize in the game’s history. The Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries have a combined jackpot of more than $1.3 billion. Amazingly, you too can try your luck from the comfort of your home in Costa Rica.

This week, the two leading American lotteries are offering jackpot prizes worth a combined total of $1.39 billion USD. “It has been a couple of years since the games have simultaneously offered jackpots this large,” says May Scheve Reardon, Executive Director of the Missouri Lottery.

Both jackpots have been rolling over since September, but there’s a good chance they will be won in this week’s draws. Up until now, you probably assumed you could only play Mega Millions and Powerball if you travelled to the United States and purchased lottery tickets in person, but all that has changed.

You can now play American lotteries online, with official tickets, by registering an account at Thelotter.com, the world’s leading online lottery ticket purchasing service. Online lottery play at TheLotter is simple, safe, and secure.

“Millions of people from all over the world are ordering their tickets with us,” states TheLotter’s spokesman Adrian Cooremans. “We are glad to offer our services to residents of Costa Rica as well.”

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up at Thelotter.com.
  2. Select Mega Millions, or Powerball, or one of 45 other lotteries available on the site.
  3. Fill out your ticket with your favourite numbers or use a computer-generated random selection.
  4. Indicate how many lines you want to play or choose to play with a lottery syndicate to increase your chances of winning.
  5. Confirm your ticket purchase and you’re eligible to win prizes in the upcoming draw.

Cooremans explains that when you order official American lottery tickets on the site, “TheLotter’s local agents in the US will buy them on your behalf. In return, the website charges a transaction fee, and you will get a scan of your tickets before the draw. When you win a prize, it’s entirely yours as no commissions are taken from winning tickets.”

According to Mega Millions and Powerball rules, you do not have to be an American citizen or resident to play American lotteries. By utilizing the online lottery ticket purchasing services of TheLotter, you can participate in Mega Millions and Powerball draws with official tickets without leaving your home in Costa Rica.

Real winners from around the world

More than 6 million lucky players from all over the world have already won over $100 million in prizes by using the ticket-purchasing services of TheLotter. The site’s biggest winner to date is Aura D. from Panama, a retired woman still working to support her kids. Aura was the sole jackpot winner in a July 2017 Florida Lotto draw, entitling her to the entire $30 million prize.

“If someone from Panama can play American lotteries by purchasing official tickets online at TheLotter, so can someone from Costa Rica,” says Cooremans.

For more information how to play Mega Millions and Powerball online from the comfort of your home in Costa Rica, please visit Thelotter.com. Good luck and please play responsibly!

This story was sponsored by The Lotter. 

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5 top reasons to consider Costa Rica real estate https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/14/5-top-reasons-to-consider-costa-rica-real-estate Thu, 14 Jan 2021 21:32:28 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141319 Here are 5 top reasons to consider Costa Rica from my perspective and experience as a Costa Rican living in San Francisco for over 20 years, and as Team Leader for AMSI Costa Rica.

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The Merriam Webster dictionary defines experience as, among other definitions:

1:  The process of living through an event or events.  You learn by experience.

2 : The skill or knowledge gained by actually doing a thing.

Because we learn by experience, we know that having a back up plan is always a good idea in order to ensure that things actually get better. Many people are wondering what to do in order to have a plan B for themselves, their families and, of course, their finances. This is where the idea of investing in International Real Estate comes to mind. But where do you think it is safe to do something like this?  How can you start the process?  Furthermore,  how do you secure title and keep your investment secure and free of headaches? After all, there are so many variables playing around in this uncharted territory. We will try, to the best of our knowledge, to answer those questions.

In order to ensure your Costa Rican experience to develop a strong plan B, here are 5 top reasons to consider Costa Rica from my perspective and experience as a Costa Rican living in San Francisco for over 20 years, and as Team Leader for AMSI Costa Rica.

  1. Costa Rica is very well known for being a country with a long democratic tradition that does not have an army.
  2. Costa Rica is highly popular with people from all around the globe that come to visit and, in many cases, end up living in the country.
  3. There is a long legal tradition that backs up your ownership of free and clear titles.
  4. The Weather. Costa Rica has great weather with a wide range of microclimates to enjoy……Tropical, Mild, and Cold.
  5. Costa Rica is a captivating paradise with most welcoming people that believe in what they call the “Pura Vida” Lifestyle (literally Pure Life or in a better translation ‘the art of living well’).

Let’s break down each of the 5 top reasons for plan B to ensure and secure your Costa Rican experience in the “Pura Vida” way.

1. Costa Rica is very well-known for being a country with a long democratic tradition that does not have an army.

Yes, you heard this right!!! This country abolished its army back in 1948,  and since then it relies on international law to defend its sovereignty and national interests. Considering that Costa Rica is located in Central America (an area very well known for high political, social and economic instability) it is remarkable that Costa Rica abolished its army and managed to stay away from the Central American conflicts that had unfortunately engulfed so many of the nations in this area of the world. This fact gives Costa Rica a high level of political stability and continuous economic and social growth as backed by the World Bank.

2. Costa Rica is highly popular with people from all around the globe that come to visit and, in many cases, end up living in the country.

According to Statista.com “in 2019, Costa Rica welcomed a total of 3.14 million tourists. This represented an increase of around 4.1 percent in comparison with the number of international arrivals reported in the previous year”

In a country of little more than 5 million people, there is no doubt this represents a significant amount of visitors which brings us into another interesting fact… Do you know you can become a resident by investing $200,000 in Real Estate? Yes, you heard it right! Costa Ricans have a very safe and easy way for you to become a resident but even without it, the fact that so many people come to this country can secure your real estate investment for plan B. Not to mention that it is a captivating paradise with very welcoming people that believe in what they call the “Pura Vida” Lifestyle (literally Pure Life or in a better translation “the art of living well”). Living the Costa Rican experience as an investor and visitor is something you can do to ensure plan B is there for you, family and friends.

3. There is a long legal tradition that backs up your ownership of free and clear titles.

According to Real Estate Agent Oscar Robles from American Marketing Systems Incorporated in Costa Rica, a foreigner can own property under the same rights as a citizen from this country. The rights to own title are guaranteed by The Law and there is title insurance available to add more value to your investment.

4. The Weather. Costa Rica has great weather with a wide range of microclimates to enjoy……Tropical, Mild, and Cold.

In accordance with data from the Costa Rican Embassy in Washington DC this country, at 51.100 Kilometers square (19,729 sq feet), represents only 0.03% of the world’s landmass but has 6% of the world biodiversity. 25.6% of the territory is protected under an impressive system of National Parks and Reserves. Being close to the Equator, the country is classified as tropical; however it has 12 climatic zones that range from frosty, cold, hot, dry, humid and pleasantly mild.

5. Costa Rica is a captivating paradise with most welcoming people that believe in what they call the “Pura Vida” Lifestyle (literally Pure Life or, in a better translation, ‘the art of living well’).

The country is an immense natural beauty where Ticos, or Costa Ricans, are generally well known for being shy, educated, very democratic, well mannered, nice, and helpful. The country is classified by The World Happiness Report for 2019 as one of the happiest places on Earth to live in.

In this captivating paradise, are very welcoming people who believe in what they call the “Pura Vida” Lifestyle (literally Pure Life or in a better translation “the art of living well”). Living the Costa Rican experience as an investor and visitor is something you can do to ensure plan B is there for you, family and friends. There are more reasons to invest in this lovely country but that would make this article a book.

Let us finish by giving you a piece of advice: Do yourself a favor and definitely consider opening your investment options now because as Mark Twain once said “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

This story was sponsored by AMSI

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Costa Rica begins administering second doses of coronavirus vaccine https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/14/costa-rica-begins-administering-second-doses-of-coronavirus-vaccine Thu, 14 Jan 2021 19:08:58 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141300 Costa Rica hopes to vaccinate 3 million people by the end of 2021. This would cover 80% of the country's adult population, including everyone with known risk factors.

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Costa Rica on Thursday began administering the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, providing more complete protection against Covid-19.

“Exactly three weeks ago, thanks to the tireless and strategic work of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, the National Emergency Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health, the first vaccine was given to Doña Elizabeth, Don Jorge, Dr. Acuña and Dr. Sancho,” said President Carlos Alvarado.

“Today, according to the vaccination protocol, we will begin to apply the second dose.”

The country has received 87,750 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, including a shipment of more than 33,000 doses that arrived earlier this week.

“It is already a reality: the vaccine has arrived, and more and more we advance with the vaccination of the first group and then start with the second, preserving health and life and promoting economic recovery from the pandemic,” President Alvarado said.

The priority for vaccination is as follows:

  • Staff and residents at retirement or nursing homes.
  • First responders, including health personnel.
  • Costa Rica’s older population, defined here as those ages 58 and up.
  • People with risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory illness, kidney disease and obesity, among others.
  • Teachers and other staff within the Education Ministry (MEP).
  • Imprisoned people and judicial staff.
  • Workers for the 911 service.
  • Health science students and related technicians in clinical fields.
  • People ages 40-57 without any of the aforementioned risk factors but whose work puts them in contact with others. This includes laborers in agriculture, construction, service industries, etc.

Costa Rican citizens and residents who fall into one of the above categories should call their local Ebais (community health clinic) to ensure their contact information is up-to-date.

The vaccine is free for citizens and residents. Tourists in Costa Rica will not receive the vaccine through the public-health system and must wait for it to become available via private means.

Costa Rica and Pfizer/BioNTech have an agreement for 3 million doses of the vaccine, enough for 1.5 million people. The Central American country also has a deal with AstraZeneca and is a member of the COVAX facility.

Costa Rica hopes to vaccinate at least 3 million people by the end of 2021. This would cover 80% of the country’s adult population, including everyone with known risk factors.

In addition, the Finance Ministry’s 2021 budget includes funds to protect 648,000 more people, which would provide coverage for Costa Rica’s entire adult population.

If you believe you have COVID-19, contact Costa Rica’s hotline at 1322. English-speaking staff and mental health professionals are available. Visit the Costa Rican Presidency for the official list of coronavirus measures and alerts. 

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1 million people visited Costa Rica in 2020 https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/14/1-million-people-visited-costa-rica-in-2020 Thu, 14 Jan 2021 15:46:07 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141280 Costa Rica welcomed nearly 75,000 people in December, up significantly over the prior month, according to Tourism Board (ICT) data. 

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Costa Rica welcomed just over 1 million international arrivals in 2020, according to data shared by the Tourism Board (ICT).

The figure represents nearly a 70% drop compared to 2019 and is the lowest figure in recent history. The ICT shares data for every year since 2005.

The worst month for arrivals was July 2020, when Costa Rica received just 1,022 people. At the time, the country had closed its borders to tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Costa Rica fully reopened its airports to tourists on November 1. Consequently, over the last two months of 2020, the country registered a small rebound in arrivals — 112,500 total people.

“Uncertainty and restrictions related to the pandemic caused world tourism to collapse, and our country received a third of the tourists who normally visit Costa Rica,” said Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura.

Below is a table comparing international arrivals to Costa Rica in 2019 vs. 2020:

Month 2019 2020
January 355,321 358,665
February 312,774 341,008
March 335,558 162,994
April 262,016 8,342
May 211,598 3,803
June 248,696 7,210
July 269,376 1,022
August 225,299 2,357
September 160,206 3,817
October 185,599 10,147
November 245,643 37,573
December 326,922 74,974
Total 3,139,008 1,011,912

During the coronavirus pandemic, tourists must meet Costa Rica’s usual immigration requirements and:

  • Complete an epidemiological digital form or “Health Pass.”
  • Purchase travel insurance that covers accommodation in case of quarantine and COVID-19 medical expenses.

Click here to review Costa Rica’s entry requirements.

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Environmental efforts send Costa Rica to top of Human Development Index in Latin America https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/14/environmental-efforts-send-costa-rica-to-top-of-human-development-index-in-latin-america Thu, 14 Jan 2021 06:18:18 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141245 Costa Rica climbed in the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2020.

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Costa Rica climbed in the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2020 after the UN for the first time incorporated criteria on environmental protection in its measurement, placing the country as a leader in Latin America.

“Costa Rica has a solid base of natural capital, it is moving toward a green economy — a decarbonization — it is modifying its matrix (of electricity generation) and seeks to modify the energy matrix to electrify public transport,” José Vicente Troya, representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Central American country, told AFP on Tuesday.

Troya explained that the conventional HDI, applied since 1990 by the UNDP, contemplates per capita income and access to health and education. With these criteria, Costa Rica appears in 62nd place among the 190 countries analyzed, just behind the Latin American leaders Uruguay (55) and Panama (57).

But for its 2020 measurement, the HDI it included a criterion of “planetary pressure” based on two indicators: carbon dioxide emissions and the material footprint of the economy, both per capita, through which Costa Rica rose in the index.

Forests and renewable energy

By incorporating the environmental criteria, Costa Rica climbs to position 25, the world’s greatest advance, which Troya attributed to the country’s forest cover — 52% of national territory, offsetting CO2 emissions.

With this, Costa Rica ranked first in Latin America in the most recent ranking, published at the end of December.

Troya also cited the electricity generation matrix, of which 98% is powered through renewable sources.

In addition, Costa Rica launched a decarbonization plan in 2018 that seeks to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2050.

Panama also climbed 30 places by incorporating environmental criteria, while Uruguay lost 20 places.

However, Troya highlighted that Costa Rica has serious environmental deficiencies, such as the excessive use of agrochemicals, and great social and political challenges to reach a higher level of development.

Gender inequality

“Costa Rica has the honor and recognition of being the country that advances the most in the HDI adjusted by planetary pressure, but there are challenges not only in environmental problems, but also in the social sphere and political participation,” Troya said.

He cited gender inequality, a component in which the Central American country has greater deficiencies than other Latin American nations with similar levels of development.

In Costa Rica, 76% of men are part of the labor market, compared to only 48% of women.

At the same time, men have a per capita gross national income of $23,500 per year, compared to $13,476 for women, according to UN figures.

“It is a matter of great concern, because the main obstacle to advancing development goals is gender inequality,” Troya warned.

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WhatsApp stresses privacy as users flock to rivals https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/13/whatsapp-stresses-privacy-as-users-flock-to-rivals Wed, 13 Jan 2021 23:28:22 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141250 WhatsApp on Tuesday reassured users about privacy at the Facebook-owned messaging service as people flocked to rivals Telegram and Signal following a tweak to its terms.

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WhatsApp on Tuesday reassured users about privacy at the Facebook-owned messaging service as people flocked to rivals Telegram and Signal following a tweak to its terms.

There was “a lot of misinformation” about an update to terms of service regarding an option to use WhatsApp to message businesses, Facebook executive Adam Mosseri, who heads Instagram, said in a tweet.

WhatsApp’s new terms sparked criticism, as users outside Europe who do not accept the new conditions before February 8 will be cut off from the messaging app.

“The policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way,” Mosseri said.

The update regards how merchants using WhatsApp to chat with customers can share data with Facebook, which could use the information for targeting ads, according to the social network.

“We can’t see your private messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.

“We don’t keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling. We can’t see your shared location and neither can Facebook.”

Location data along with message contents is encrypted end-to-end, according to WhatsApp.

“We’re giving businesses the option to use secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts,” WhatsApp said in the post.

“Whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook.”

Tapping Telegram

Encrypted messaging app Telegram has seen user ranks surge on the heels of the WhatsApp service terms announcement, said its Russia-born founder Pavel Durov.

Durov, 36, said on his Telegram channel Tuesday that the app had over 500 million monthly active users in the first weeks of January and “25 million new users joined Telegram in the last 72 hours alone.”

WhatsApp boasts more than two billion users.

“People no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services,” Durov said without directly referring to the rival app.

Encrypted messaging app Signal has also seen a huge surge in demand, helped by a tweeted recommendation by renowned serial entrepreneur Elon Musk.

In India, WhatsApp’s biggest market with some 400 million users, the two apps gained around 4 million subscribers last week, financial daily Mint reported, citing data from research firm Sensor Tower.

WhatsApp has sought to reassure worried users in the South Asian country, running full-page adverts in Wednesday’s newspapers, proclaiming that “respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA”.

Telegram is a popular social media platform in a number of countries, particularly in the former Soviet Union and Iran, and is used both for private communications and sharing information and news.

Durov said Telegram has become a “refuge” for those seeking a private and secure communications platform and assured new users that his team “takes this responsibility very seriously.”

Telegram was founded in 2013 by brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, who also founded Russia’s social media network VKontakte.

Telegram refuses to cooperate with authorities and handover encryption keys, which resulted in its ban in several countries, including Russia.

Last year, Russia announced that it will lift its ban on the messenger app after more than two years of unsuccessful attempts to block it.

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Following U.S. policy announcement, Delta waives fare difference for flight changes https://ticotimes.net/2021/01/13/following-u-s-policy-announcement-delta-waives-fare-difference-for-flight-changes Wed, 13 Jan 2021 18:48:39 +0000 https://ticotimes.net/?p=141232 Delta Air Lines is providing additional flexibility to passengers with upcoming international flights. 

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Delta Air Lines is providing additional flexibility to passengers with upcoming international flights.

The Atlanta-based airline is waiving the fare difference for passengers who wish to change their international tickets. The announcement follows the United States’ new travel policy, which will require all incoming passengers to obtain a negative coronavirus test.

“Delta has proactively issued a fare difference waiver for customers rebooking international tickets purchased on or before Jan. 12,” the airline said.

“The fare difference will be waived for customers originally scheduled to travel internationally to the U.S. through Feb. 9, if they choose to rebook their travel to begin on or before Jan. 25.”

Most U.S. airlines, including Delta, have also waived or eliminated change fees for international flights. However, Delta is the first airline with current flights to Costa Rica that won’t charge the difference in fare if passengers rebook to a more expensive flight.

Delta is also the only U.S. airline still blocking all middle seats.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday said that all international airline passengers — including citizens and residents — flying to the United States must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before boarding their flight. The new policy will take effect starting January 26, 2021.

“When combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, [testing] can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations,” said Robert Redfield, CDC director.

Many private labs and hospitals in Costa Rica offer on-demand PCR coronavirus testing for a fee. These include: Laboratorios Echandi, Hospital La Católica, Hospital Cima, Laboratorios LABIN, Hospital Clínica Bíblica, Laboratorio Páez, Laboratorios San José and Hospital Metropolitano.

The majority of private labs and hospitals can guarantee results within 72 hours.

 

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