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Covid-19: Costa Rica to ease mobility restrictions in September

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Costa Rican authorities announced this Friday that as of September 1, they would relax restrictions on commercial activity and mobility while the vaccination process continues to advance.

The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, said in a press conference that, based on studies, the decision has been taken to ease the restrictions but warned that the population must reinforce preventive measures because “we still have an evolving situation with the pandemic wave”.

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As of September 1, all vehicles will be able to circulate on weekends between 5 AM and 10 PM, unlike the current policy, which stipulates that one day vehicles with license plates ending in even number will circulate, and the other day those with odd numbered plates will circulate.

With data as of August 19, Costa Rica has 438,587 confirmed cases of covid-19 and 5,296 deaths (Photo internet reproduction)

On weekdays, as of September 1, there will be a one-day traffic restriction according to the vehicle’s license plate number, and the nighttime prohibition will be maintained for all vehicles between 10PM and 5 AM.

In September, the permitted capacity limits will be maintained, such as 25% in bars, 50% in restaurants, 75% in hotels with more than 100 rooms, up to 500 people with 1.8 meters of distance in places of worship, academic, artistic and business activities; and up to 100 people in social event halls.

In October, the Government announced that it plans to increase the allowed capacity of bars to 50%.

Minister Salas commented that the country has been taking caution and observing what has happened in other countries where, despite showing an advance in vaccination, they have had to resume restrictive measures due to the increase of contagions.

Salas pointed out that in the country, about 60% of the population has at least one dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 but warned that the greatest protection would not be achieved until two doses are available. The percentage of the population with two doses is 18% so far.

The minister affirmed that in the last weeks, there has been “a missing piece”, which is the application of preventive measures by the population that, in his opinion, has been relaxed after receiving the first dose.

This situation, together with the circulation of the Delta variant of the virus, has caused an increase in cases in the last three weeks. The previous week there were 15% more cases than the week before. “Let’s follow the protocols because we can maximize coexistence if we respect the protocols,” said Salas.

With data as of August 19, Costa Rica has 438,587 confirmed cases of covid-19 and 5,296 deaths. The Central American Population Center of the state-owned University of Costa Rica reported that the reproduction rate of the virus is at 1.13, which would cause an increase in the number of cases in the coming weeks.

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