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News briefs: China donates medical supplies to help Costa Rica fight COVID-19

March 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted daily life in Costa Rica, which has declared a State of Emergency and enacted sweeping measures to slow its spread.

Here’s what you should know as the day begins:

China donates test kits, medical supplies

China is donating a “significant amount” of test kits and medical supplies to Costa Rica, the Foreign Ministry announced.

The medical supplies include surgical masks and CPAP machines, while the COVID-19 kits will help Costa Rica achieve its goal of expanding its testing capabilities.

“The Strategic Alliance that Costa Rica and China promote has borne multiple fruits, and this cooperation represents a manifestation of the closeness that both peoples maintain,” said President Carlos Alvarado in a statement from the Foreign Ministry. “The excellent state of bilateral relations is manifested in the permanent exercise of the principles of equality, mutual trust, cooperation and mutual benefits.”

More than 500 detained crossing the border

Migration Police in Los Chiles, Alajuela, detained more than 500 people who entered the country illegally in recent days.

The majority entered Costa Rica from Nicaragua at unauthorized border-crossing points, according to immigration authorities.

The Vice Minister of the Interior and Police, Carlos Andrés Torres, said authorities are increasing their efforts near Costa Rica’s borders in anticipation of heavier undocumented migration patterns during Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week).

National Police monitor Costa Rica’s beaches

National Police are enforcing the Costa Rican government’s decision to close its beaches, the agency said.

Those who don’t respect the nationwide closure, which was announced Monday, could face criminal prosecution.

National Police reported that over the past weekend, “the influx of tourists was minimal” on Costa Rica’s beaches.

New driving restrictions begin tonight

Starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday, the majority of vehicles will be banned from Costa Rica’s roads.

The measure is part of Costa Rica’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting nonessential travel. With some exceptions, vehicles will be banned between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. beginning tonight.

Violators will be fined 22,188 colones (about $40).

Exceptions will be made for emergencies and transportation of cargo, among others, according to Monday’s initial announcement of the measure. The Costa Rican government will release further details later today.

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