The Health Ministry on Sunday announced eight new coronavirus cases within Costa Rica.
The news brings Costa Rica’s tally of COVID-19 cases to 35, up from 27 at the same time Saturday. Four people are currently hospitalized due to the virus — and three of them are in intensive care.
The 35 cases comprise 28 adults, three elderly adults and four minors, according to Health Minister Daniel Salas.
The Health Ministry has also ordered that all bars, nightclubs and casinos across Costa Rica remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Salas said the decision was made after many establishments throughout the weekend violated a decree limiting capacity to 50% of their defined occupancy.
The new closure does not affect restaurants or food courts, but they must continue to abide by the 50% decrease in occupancy or risk a 30-day closure.
“One of the most important factors in dealing with COVID-19 is following instructions,” Carlos Alvarado, Costa Rica’s President, wrote on social media. “Now is the time of prevention and taking care of ourselves. Let’s avoid crowds and leave the house only for what is necessary.”
Costa Rica previously suspended mass gathering events, will temporarily close 350 schools starting Monday, and has issued strict cleanliness guidelines for business and public transportation.
“Every day, we are analyzing additional measures we can take based on what we observe on the behaviors of this illness,” Salas said.
The Health Minister reiterated a call to avoid nonessential travel and follow his agency’s recommendation for the safety of the Costa Rican population.
“I keep seeing people acting as if this weren’t real,” Salas said. “We’ve seen that many private education centers that have closed, people have gone to the beach. … People were laughing at greeting people without shaking hands, but that can save a life, or many lives.
“Let’s collaborate; let’s work together. Costa Rica has a high education level and level of understanding. I believe we can overcome this, but we need the response from everyone.”
Costa Rica has activated a non-emergency line to answer citizen questions regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The new number, to be used for non-emergencies, is 1322. Emergency situations should still be directed to 911.
“We are in day nine since the first case that was confirmed on Friday, March 6,” said Román Macaya, President of the Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja). “In nine days, we’ve gone from one case to 35.
“When you compare 35 cases to the rest of the world, it appears small. But remember where we were just over one week ago. Where will we be next week?”
The below image shows the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Costa Rica sorted by canton:
This story may be updated further.