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Still no suspected cases of coronavirus in Costa Rica, Health Ministry says

February 3, 2020

Costa Rica still does not have any suspected cases of the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry said Monday in a press conference.

Daniel Salas, the Minister of Health, said Monday morning that Costa Rica is not planning on closing its borders to foreigners arriving from China — temporary measures taken by the United States and El Salvador, among other countries, in response to the virus.

The new coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has claimed 360 lives, infected more than 17,200 people in China, and spread to 24 countries. It has been declared an international emergency by the World Health Organization.

Salas said authorities will monitor Costa Rica’s ports of entry and have coordinated responses with international airlines in the event of a sick traveler. Signs at Juan Santamaría International Airport and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport advise anyone who falls ill after visiting China to immediately contact a health center.

“It must be very clear that the World Health Organization currently does not recommend that restrictive measures be taken or to prevent people from arriving from China to different countries, taking into account the characteristics of the virus, mortality and the specific situation of Costa Rica,” Salas said Monday. 

Salas asked the public to “reduce their level of anxiety” regarding the novel coronavirus and said Costa Rica’s actions have been in-line with recommendations from the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.

“The vast majority of the coronavirus cases are mild cases, cases in which the person recovers,” Salas said. “It’s important to have that in consideration.”

The Health Ministry has issued protocols for public and private health centers to follow in the event of a suspected case of the coronavirus in Costa Rica. The guidelines, which can be read in their entirety here, include a quarantine of the affected patient(s) and strict follow-up of people with whom they have come in contact.

“The health system in Costa Rica has protocols and procedures that allow facing these epidemiological alerts,” Salas said last week. “In the same way that the AH1N1 and SARS-CoV influenza virus was processed, what is appropriate is the disclosure of the protocol of action for the health care centers, where the clinical picture and the report to be made are detailed.”

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