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Costa Rica issues yellow alert as it confirms 9 coronavirus cases, including in three U.S. citizens

March 8, 2020

Nine people, including three United States citizens, have confirmed cases of coronavirus in Costa Rica as of Sunday evening.

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) has declared a yellow alert throughout Costa Rica in response to the novel coronavirus. The move allows the Costa Rican government to mobilize additional resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

In addition to the nine confirmed cases, 34 people are suspected to have coronavirus in Costa Rica, Health Minister Daniel Salas said Sunday. The majority had contact with a 54-year-old Costa Rican man who is in serious condition due to complications from a preexisting condition.

The Health Ministry is advising the elderly and anyone with diabetes, hypertension, or chronic pulmonary or heart issues to avoid large gatherings. In addition, the general public should “postpone travel as much as possible,” particularly given the escalating international situation. 

The nine confirmed cases are as follows:

  • A 49-year-old woman, who is a U.S. citizen.
  • A 49-year-old man, husband of the U.S. citizen. He remains asymptomatic.
  • A 54-year-old man, Costa Rican, who remains in serious condition at intensive care in a public hospital. 
  • A 73-year-old woman, Costa Rican, who had contact with the 54-year-old man.
  • A 41-year-old woman, Costa Rican, who had contact with the 54-year-old man.
  • A 54-year-old woman, Costa Rican, who had contact with the 54-year-old man.
  • A 56-year-old woman, Costa Rican, who had contact with the 54-year-old man.
  • A 34-year-old man, Costa Rican, who had contact with the 54-year-old man.
  • A 70-year-old female U.S. citizen, resident of Costa Rica, with a recent travel record to the United States, including to two airports in that country.

Anyone feeling ill is recommended to stay at home and avoid large-scale gatherings. All citizens are recommended to minimize physical contact when greeting others and to wash their hands frequently.

Watch the Health Ministry and National Emergency Commission’s latest update (in Spanish) below:

The San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital will suspend some non-urgent and elective surgeries and consultations starting Monday, March 9, due to COVID-19 affecting patients and some staff, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS, or Caja) said Sunday night.

The U.S. Embassy recommends citizens to call Costa Rica’s 9-1-1 emergency number if you believe you have symptoms and are currently in the country. English speaking operators are available.

The number of novel coronavirus cases globally stood at 109,032, including 3,792 deaths, across 99 countries and territories by 1700 GMT Sunday, according to a report compiled by AFP from official sources.

Outside China, a total of 28,337 cases have been recorded around the world since the epidemic began, including 695 deaths.

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