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News briefs: Health Ministry condemns those who don’t believe in pandemic

July 14, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has transformed life in Costa Rica, which has enacted measures to protect the capacity of its health system.

Here’s what you should know as a new day starts in Costa Rica:

Protest bothers & disappoints Health Ministry

Health Minister Daniel Salas condemned a small group who on Monday protested at Casa Presidencial with signs declaring, “There is no pandemic.”

Speaking to news outlets, those protesters — many wearing masks or face shields — argued that not enough people had died in Costa Rica to justify the response.

“It is painful to hear different messages that have been circulating,” Salas said Monday afternoon. “We could have many more deaths in Costa Rica if we had not done things as we have been doing since the pandemic started.

“These phenomena occur; viruses are real; pandemics occur from time to time. At this time, to tell the families of people who are hospitalized in intensive care units and who are crying to their families that this does not exist, that this virus was invented — it is a cruelty, it is a contempt for human life.”

The World Health Organization lists a death toll of nearly 570,000 people due to the pandemic, defined as “a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death.” 

Costa Rica’s deadliest day

The Health Ministry announced four more COVID-19-related deaths on Monday, making it Costa Rica’s deadliest day.

  • A 43-year-old resident of San José province died while in intensive care.
  • A 72-year-old resident of San José province died while in intensive care.
  • An 81-year-old resident of San José province died while at Costa Rica’s coronavirus-specific hospital (CEACO).
  • A 46-year-old resident of San José province died while hospitalized.

All had at least one risk factor, according to the Health Ministry. (Half of adult Costa Ricans have at least one COVID-19 risk factor.)

The data indicate Costa Rica has 0.67 COVID-19-related deaths per 100,000 people. Deaths have doubled since July 2.

Dial 1322 if you may have COVID-19. English-speaking operators are available.

After long lines, buses adjust capacity limits

The Public Transportation Council (CTP) on Tuesday issued updated guidelines after bus riders reported long lines Monday.

Between Tuesday and Friday, routes under 75 km can operate with up to 50% of their regularly scheduled service, CTP said. Operators can also adjust frequencies to better accommodate riders during peak hours.

Monday’s lines were a result of restrictions meant to reduce mobility in the Greater Metropolitan Area in order for health authorities to better trace the coronavirus.

While there are wide-ranging driving bans this week, people can continue to drive to and from work with proper proof.

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