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Published Wednesday, July 15, 2020 

Fines and prison for
breaking sanitary measures

By the  A.M. Costa Rica staff

The sanitary orders established by the Ministry of Health are mandatory, implying that anyone not complying with the order will be fined and could receive a jail sentence.

According to the Ministry of Security, people received mandatory orders requiring them to be in quarantine inside their homes for 14 days.

That also applies to people entering the country or those detected with covid-19.

Those who break the isolation order will be fined an equivalent of $794.

According to Elvis López- Matarrita from the Ministry of Justice, the crime of breaking sanitary orders is clarified in article No.277 of the Penal Code and establishes penalties for the offender, which can range from one to three years in prison plus a fine.

"Compliance with a health order is not just a matter of following with laws, it is a responsibility while we are facing extraordinary situations," Matarrita said.

The most recent reported case of violating sanitary orders happened in June when a judge in a Liberia Court in Guanacaste Province, sentenced a man to one year in prison for breaking that law.

In this case, instead of going to prison the judge agreed to give the man a strict probation of three years. This means that the man did not go to jail, in exchange for that, he promises not to commit any crime for a period of three years. On the contrary, if the man commits any crime, he would be sent to prison for the term that the judge orders, a one-year sentence.

According to the Public Ministry, another similar case happened last week, when a judge of Desamparados Court, in San José Province, found a man guilty for violating sanitary orders.

In that case, the man accepted the facts and submitted an alternative measure of suspension of the trial process. To repair the damage caused, he had to purchase and donate medical supplies to the Desamparados public clinic. According to the Ministry, the man donated the equivalent of $1,715 in supplies, including surgical masks, gel alcohol, liquid alcohol and face shields.

Authorities call on the population to respect health orders as a preventive measure to avoid the increase in cases of covid-19 infections.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the ministry provided the following statistics on the virus in the country:

 • 446 new cases of patients infected with covid-19, bringing the total to 6,005 active cases.

 • The ages of infected patients range from a three-month-old baby to a 99-year-old person.

 • 2,517 foreigners have been infected of the 8,482 cases since March, approximately 30% of the total cases.

 • 171 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 144 patients are in recovery rooms and 27 are in Intensive Care Units, ICU, with delicate health conditions. Most of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

 • 2,441 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 28% recovery rate.

 • 42,518 people have been ruled out.

 • 61,216 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

 • 37 deaths of patients infected with covid-19 since March. Of these nine were foreigners, one person whose nationality is not yet identified and 27 Costa Ricans. Of the total of deaths, 15 were women and 22 men.

Readers can reach the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its
Covid-19 Map.

As of Tuesday night, the pandemic has killed 578,628 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

What have you heard of someone violating a health order in your community?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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