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Newly Appointed Costa Rica Health Minister Rules Out Eliminating Mask Mandate for the Time Being

Joselyn Chacon, the new Minister of Health, appointed by President-elect Rodrigo Chaves, ruled out eliminating- for the time being- the mandatory use of masks. This was stated by the doctor herself, at the press conference held by Chaves to present part of his team for the next 4 years.

“At the moment I am not going to talk about eliminating the mask mandate; it (the mask mandate) continues,” affirmed Chacon.

The Minister explained she would have to evaluate several factors before fully eliminating the obligatory use of masks.

Additionally, the specialist in hospital administration, indicated that when the time is right, she will lift the mask mandate, but highlighted this will be done gradually.  

“First, we will see if it can be eliminated in some specific sectors or if it should only be used to ride the bus or go to the hospital; then we would evaluate removing it for the rest of the population, we will see; but for the moment it’s a no,” said the health specialist.

Health experts who have been monitoring the evolution of the pandemic in the country, have stated that masks should still be used. They indicated it has been one of the most important measures, that has helped throughout the pandemic.

“It is one of the low-cost measures and it does have an effect. We know people are upset, it’s unpleasant to wear them. It’s unfortunate that children have to wear them, but it’s a sacrifice we have to make for a few more months,” explained Luis Rosero demographer and health expert.

“I would wait to see what happens in May… If we get through these weeks of April and the second week of May and we don’t have trends indicating everything is getting worse then yes, we can discard their usage,” concluded Juan José Romero, epidemiologist from the National University of Costa Rica.

Finally, Chacon also mentioned she scheduled a meeting with Daniel Salas, current Ministry of Health, to discuss the current situation. She also highlighted Salas’ great work in the midst of a never before seen situation and one of the worst health crises the country has ever experienced.  

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