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Border closures for foreigners remain in force until May 15

  • 687 cases confirmed by COVID-19 (April 23th)
  • Border closures for foreigners remain in force until May 15
  • Costa Rica will develop its own tests for COVID-19. The work team is composed of Costa Rican experts in molecular biology, physiology, virology, microbiology, genetics and biotechnology.

San José, Costa Rica, April 23, 2020. The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, informed during the daily remote press conference that the closure of borders for foreigners continues to be in effect until May 15th.

In March of this year, a border closure was declared, which implies that only Costa Ricans and residents may enter the country, and these must remain in quarantine for 14 days. In addition, any foreign resident with regular status in the country who leaves the national territory, automatically loses his immigration status.

Costa Rica will develop its own tests for COVID-19

Meanwhile, public institutions, private companies and the United Nations have proposed to validate an alternative protocol to identify the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Costa Rica.

The study carried out in Costa Rica seeks to adapt protocols to replace parts or stages of commercial kits currently used in official laboratories, with others that fulfill the same function, but using less demanding inputs and reagents, and validated performance with clinical samples. This will make it possible to have available our own tests developed in the country.

“Costa Rica has human talent and great capabilities, if we work together we will have more and better options to overcome this pandemic, not only in health, but in scientific, social and economic development. With solidarity and union we can transform this crisis into an opportunity,” said the President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado.

The first results are expected in four weeks and new strategic partners are being sought for the validation phase with patient samples, which would take an additional two weeks.

The study is being carried out by CENIBiot, the National Center for High Technology (CENAT) in coordination with MICITT, the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Institute for Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health (INCIENSA), the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC), the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and other actors such as the Costa Rican Chamber of Industries (CICR), the Foreign Trade Promotion Agency (PROCOMER) and the Speratum company, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

This proposal is complementary to and aligned with the efforts of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS by its spanish name) and the Ministry of Health to increase the capacities, equipment and facilities for carrying out the diagnosis. Although other technologies have been proposed, including rapid tests to detect antibodies, at present these do not guarantee the sensitivity offered by the standard of diagnosis via RT-PCR.

For the first phase of this project, UNDP is contributing $37,500 and $170,000 is contributed in kind by CENIBiot (access to equipment, professionals).

687 cases confirmed by COVID-19

Finally, as of April 23th, 687 cases have been confirmed by COVID-19, with an age range of 1 to 87 years. They are 329 women and 358 men, of whom 620 are Costa Rican and 67 are foreign. Thirteen people are in hospital, eight of whom are in intensive care, with an age range of 44 to 76 years. A total of 12,073 samples have been processed.

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