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Costa Rica requiring more signage and less touching to prevent coronavirus spread

March 3, 2020

The Health Ministry on Tuesday announced protocols the country’s institutions should take to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in Costa Rica.

There remain no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, in Costa Rica, according to Health Minister Daniel Salas.

Among the specific protocols discussed Tuesday:

  • All businesses, schools and religious centers must have signage indicating proper hand-washing, sneezing and coughing methods. Businesses should disinfect door knobs, washbasin handles, toilets, telephones, keyboards and computer devices at least twice daily.
  • Similarly, bus and train operators must regularly disinfect surfaces touched by riders. Bus and train terminals should have signs advising travelers to avoid touching their faces if they have not washed their hands.
  • Churches should deliver the Eucharist to the hands — rather than directly to the mouths — of churchgoers. Similarly, the congregation should avoid physical contact when sharing a greeting of peace.
  • Anyone feeling ill is recommended to stay at home and avoid large-scale gatherings. Citizens are recommended to minimize physical contact when greeting others.
  • Both of Costa Rica’s international airports and major ports have developed specific steps in the event of a possible coronavirus case.

“As a government, we have been present in communication methods and taking measures to prevent the spread of infection,” Salas said. “But each and every one of us has a shared responsibility.

“If this shared responsibility is not respected, there is little health authorities can do [to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus].”

The Health Ministry says it is not yet recommending the suspension of large, public gatherings, but that measure will be considered if COVID-19 spreads in Costa Rica.

Across the world, 3,155 people have died from the virus. More than 92,723 have been infected in 78 countries and territories, according to AFP’s latest toll based on official sources at 1700 GMT Tuesday.

The main countries affected: mainland China (80,151 cases, 2,943 deaths), South Korea (5,186 cases, 28 deaths), Italy (2,502 cases, 79 deaths), Iran (2,336 cases, 77 deaths), Japan (268 cases and 12 deaths).

The majority of infected people have minor or no symptoms, Salas said Tuesday, while the most-vulnerable are those with pre-existing conditions and the elderly.

Information from AFP was used in this report. 

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