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Coronavirus outbreak shuts down Costa Rican Legislative Assembly sessions

October 20, 2020

An outbreak of COVID-19 among Costa Rican lawmakers forced the suspension of Legislative Assembly sessions, according to multiple reports.

The Legislative Assembly (Congress) will not meet again until at least October 29, according to Semanario Universidad. The daily La Nación says at least 14 legislative officials and three advisors have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least one is hospitalized.

Tuesday afternoon, the Legislative Assembly indicated that “government, administration and economics” sessions had been canceled, without providing further details.

The interruption comes as the Legislative Assembly hoped to prioritize debating public-employment reforms and reducing the annual vehicle circulation tax (marchamo). It’s unclear whether these discussions could continue virtually over the next two weeks.

Costa Rica is also mired in difficult internal discussions regarding its financial future. While the Executive Branch has sought a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), corresponding tax measures have been met with backlash from citizens and deputies alike.

The outbreak comes a day after the Legislative Assembly inaugurated its new building in San José at an indoors event featuring other government employees and press.

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