Update (1:15 p.m.): The Health Ministry has identified 165 additional people who are being considered as suspected cases of the novel coronavirus, Health Minister Daniel Salas announced Tuesday afternoon.
The news brings Costa Rica’s total confirmed COVID-19 tally to 13 confirmed cases and 179 suspected ones.
Salas said the majority of the 165-person cluster identified Tuesday had some contact with a 54-year-old Costa Rican man who is currently hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
The man is an employee at a public hospital in Alajuela, Costa Rica and recently returned from an international trip. He was asymptomatic when he arrived in Costa Rica.
The Health Ministry is focusing on mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus to minimize strain on the country’s health system.
“We can’t enter a panic that leads us to close all activities,” Salas said. “That leads to a paralysis, and this isn’t until now such a deadly virus to require that.”
The suspension of mass events and call to work from home — measures announced yesterday — remain in effect.
Original story follows:
The Health Ministry has confirmed 13 cases of coronavirus in Costa Rica, the agency said Tuesday morning.
A further 11 people have what are considered suspected cases, while 59 people who were thought to have COVID-19 have since been ruled out.
The confirmed cases are located in four provinces: San José, Heredia, Guanacaste and Alajuela. The individuals are:
- A 49-year-old woman and her 49-year-old husband, who are both U.S. citizens. The husband remains asymptomatic.
- A 54-year-old man, Costa Rican, who remains in serious condition. Eight Costa Ricans ages 11-73, who had contact with the 54-year-old man, have also tested positive.
- Another 54-year-old man, Costa Rican, whose epidemiological link to COVID-19 is unclear.
- A 70-year-old U.S. woman, who is a Costa Rican resident but recently traveled through two North American airports.
Costa Ricans work from home, events cancelled
The Costa Rican government has taken significant measures to slow the spread of coronavirus. Here’s what else you need to know today:
- Most mass gatherings, including concerts and festivals, will be suspended for at least two weeks and until further notice. Upcoming soccer matches will likely be played behind closed doors.
- Public workers have been instructed to work from home, if possible. Private businesses should permit their employees to do the same.
- Schools have been told to remain open, with some exceptions. At least one public school in the San José area is closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
- Costa Rica is not planning on closing its airports or its borders, nor is it restricting international travel, according to the Health Ministry.
- The Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) has asked that tour operators, hotels and similar businesses allow greater flexibility for visitors to reschedule plans.
Worldwide cases near 115,000
The number of novel coronavirus cases globally stood at 114,151, with 4,012 deaths, across 105 countries and territories by 0900 GMT Tuesday, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.
Since 1700 GMT on Monday, 898 new cases and 48 new deaths have been reported.
China — excluding the territories of Hong Kong and Macau — where the epidemic emerged at the end of December had 80,754 cases, of which 3,136 were fatal. There have been 19 new infections and 17 deaths since 1700 GMT Monday, while 59,897 people have recovered from the virus.
Outside China, a total of 33,397 cases have been recorded around the world since the epidemic began, including 876 deaths. Some 877 cases are new, with 31 new deaths.
The most affected countries after China are Italy (9,172 cases, 463 deaths), South Korea (7,513 cases, 54 deaths), Iran (7,161 cases, 237 deaths) and France (1,412 cases, 25 deaths).
Since 1700 GMT on Monday, China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom and Canada have recorded new deaths.
Panama, Mongolia, Burkina Faso and northern Cyprus confirmed the first coronavirus cases on their territory.
Asia recorded a total at 0900 GMT Tuesday of 90,117 cases (3,208 deaths), Europe 15,424 cases (528 deaths), the Middle East 7,623 cases (244 deaths), US and Canada 679 cases (27 deaths), Oceania 112 cases (three deaths), Africa 99 cases (one death), Latin America and the Caribbean 93 cases (one death).
This assessment was carried out using data collected by AFP offices from the competent national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO).