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Costa Rica records first death due to coronavirus

An 87-year-old man became the first person with COVID-19 to die in Costa Rica, the Health Ministry said Wednesday afternoon.

The man had been at San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital and in intensive care. He passed away at 4:15 p.m.

“We show solidarity with his family,” President Carlos Alvarado wrote on social media. “Let us react, and let’s accept the orders of the Ministry of Health. Only united and with solidarity will we pass this national emergency.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Health Ministry had confirmed the largest day-to-day increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19. The agency said 69 people were known to have coronavirus — including the now-deceased man — marking a 19-person jump over Tuesday.

The 87-year-old was the oldest person in Costa Rica known to have COVID-19.

As part of its State of Emergency, Costa Rica is closing its borders to tourists starting Wednesday night.

While Costa Rican authorities said Tuesday they are not yet considering a national quarantine, Health Minister Daniel Salas has repeatedly asked the public to avoid non-essential travel and stay home when possible.

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