Central American leaders agreed Thursday to formulate a regional contingency plan to deal with the new coronavirus pandemic.
The agreement, adopted after a teleconference meeting of members of the Central American Integration System (SICA), was signed by the rulers of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic.
Only the Salvadoran president, Nayib Bukele, did not sign the agreement for reasons that were not explained.
The region has registered cases of the novel coronavirus in Costa Rica (23), Honduras (2) and Panama (27).
Under a declaration titled “Central America united against the coronavirus,” the leaders called on the area’s health ministers to prepare “a regional contingency plan aimed at complementing national efforts for the prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19.”
They also instructed finance ministers to take actions before international financial organizations to guarantee the availability of resources to finance the contingency plan.
The declaration also guided health authorities to adopt actions to guarantee the supply of medicines, medical devices and other materials necessary to treat the pandemic.
Costa Rican film festival suspended
The Costa Rican International Film Festival was suspended Thursday, hours before its opening, due to the health alert for the new coronavirus, organizers reported.
The organization of the Costa Rica International Film Festival said in a statement that it made the decision “in attention to the health alert situation in the country.” Costa Rica has registered 23 cases of COVID-19 in the country.
The film event was slated to run for 10 days with 77 works from around the world, with an emphasis on Central American independent cinema.
The Costa Rican government announced this week the cancellation of all mass events.
However, movie theaters were initially exempt from the restriction, which allowed the festival to remain on its feet, until further restrictions were announced Thursday.
“The heart of our festival is its audience and the interaction it achieves with the creators. This measure is taken in order to protect the health of our attendees and society,” explained Ana Xochitl Alarcón, director of the Center for Cinema.