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Published Friday, May 29, 2020 

International companies have
donated $1.1 million-plus during
the pandemic

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Companies in the free-trade zone have aided the government with more than $1.1 million, according to data collected by the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, CINDE, on Thursday.

According to the agency, this estimate is based on the market value of materials and supplies donated by these companies since April 1, and to date.

Much of the equipment is already in use by the Social Security health workers on the front lines of the emergency, as well as by other officials who work in tasks required to manage the situation. These donations include face shields, medications, masks, and diagnostic kits.

The companies have also strengthened their outreach programs to the communities in which they operate, assisting the most vulnerable populations through the donation of food, care packages, sanitation and cleaning equipment. These supplies have gone to nursing homes, schools, and more than 500 children's cafeterias that operate through the Ministry of Education, said the agency.

According to CINDE, these companies have also made available their vast knowledge, sharing with universities, local companies, and the government, in order to develop teams to attend to this health emergency.

One of these initiatives is, led by the Costa Rican Ministry of Science, which promotes the development of essential equipment to attend the covid-19 crisis, including masks, mechanical ventilators, and waterproof clothing, among others.

Companies including Akamai, Boston Scientific, and MicroTechnologies have collaborated with the University of Costa Rica in designing prototypes for 3-D printing of masks and other care products.

MicroTechnologies has also restructured its operations to manufacture components that are now being used by Ford in the United States to manufacture artificial ventilators.

Intel also announced that a team of engineering professionals is working together with a group from Social Security to develop predictive mathematical and statistical models to help manage the crisis.

For its part, Microsoft freely extended its online learning platforms to students and anyone interested in learning more about information technologies.

“Multinational companies and free trade zones have demonstrated their commitment to Costa Rica, just now when we need it most," said Jorge Sequeira-Picado, Director of CINDE. "Many companies have retained their workers, even though many of these companies are impacted, both globally and locally, by consequences of the pandemic; this demonstrates their commitment to nearly 120,000 Costa Ricans. Furthermore, these companies support a chain of 4,000 small and medium companies in the country, thus protecting 60,000 indirect jobs.”

A survey carried out by CINDE among multinational companies also showed that these companies have ensured both job and business continuity through work-from-home protocols, as well as the adaptation of new health standards for positions that continue to work onsite.

It was estimated that 98% of these companies and more than 70,000 employees are working 100% remotely, said the agency in its statement.

According to the agency, more than 1,900 positions are being actively recruited at multinational companies that are working in coordination with the Tourism Institute to relocate affected employees from the tourism industry and link them with opportunities in the free-trade zone sector.

Some of the most recent donations and aid programs developed by companies in the free-trade zone are:

•Intel: Donated more than 20,000 masks and $70,000.

•P&G: Donated resources to school cafeterias, which directly benefited more than 10,000 people.

•Novartis: Donated the drug hydroxychloroquine to the CCSS.

•Establishment Labs: Donated 2,800 face shields.

•Samtec: Donated US $25,000 and 800 N95 masks.

•Edwards Lifesciences: Donated $80,000 to vulnerable populations.

•Coyol Free Zone, La Lima Free Zone, Real Estate Portfolio, Ultrapark, Dole, TE Connectivity, Kimberly Clark, among others, also made significant contributions to combat the crisis.

•National Instruments: Local suppliers’ subsidy equaling 100% of their regular income, even without using their services regularly.

Additionally, the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce, AMCHAM, the Business Alliance for Development, AED, and the Costa Rica-United States of America Foundation for Cooperation, CRUSA, made its first delivery to the Social Security of test machines to diagnose covid-19.

This donation includes 70 GeneXpert test machines and 15,743 test kits, which were acquired through a public-private partnership. This is the first installment of the "Proactive Testing" project. The support of more than 440 donors, both companies and individuals, raised more than US $1.8 million, which funded the purchase of this equipment, said the agency.

Regarding the development of covid-19 in the country, the health ministry reported on Thursday 344 active cases. Active patients are those who currently have the virus.

Authorities provided the following statistics of the evolution of the virus in the country:

• Of the 1,000 infected since the first case was detected in March, 646 coronavirus patients have fully recovered.

• The ages of those affected range from six months to 87 with an average age of 37. Thursday authorities reported a 3-months-old baby tested positive for covid-19. A 6-month-old baby was infected with the virus May 14.

• 12 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 10 are in recovery rooms and 2 have been reported in an Intensive Care Unit, ICU, with delicate health conditions. Most of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 183 foreigners infected, of these 27 entered the country unauthorized and are jailed in the facilities of the Professional Migration Police in Heredia Province.

• 46 foreigners working as truck drivers transporting merchandise were denied border entry because they tested positive for covid-19.

• 16,726 people have been ruled out.

• 24,897 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

• 10 deaths have been reported from patients infected with covid-19 since March.

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

As of Thursday night, the pandemic has killed 359,791 patients worldwide according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

What other international company with facilities in Costa Rica should support the health workers during the pandemic?
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