The most recent case of tourists infected with covid-19 happened in January when a group of 20 tourists from France had the virus.
- A.M. Costa Rica illustrative photo -

Almost 200 tourists infected with covid-19 arrived in the country,
authorities confirm

Published Thursday, March 11, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Gustavo Segura
-Sancho, Minister of Tourism, during his hearing before Congress on Wednesday, said that 240,000 tourists arrived in the country during the last six months, where almost 200 were infected with covid-19.

Segura presented to deputies of the Tourism Commission on the performance of the tourism sector during the pandemic.

The most recent case of tourists infected with covid-19 happened in January when a group of 20 tourists from France had the virus.

Authorities continue to provide medical care to some of the tourists, of whom it has not yet been determined whether they were infected in the country. Details have not been shared if they were infected during their stay or if they were already infected when they entered Costa Rica.

According to the authorities, of the 20 patients, 9 had to be treated in public hospitals and the rest had to comply with quarantine in their hotels.

Social Security announced that they are in the process of recovering the cost of medical treatment received by tourists.

Compared to last year when the pandemic hit and brought tourism to a halt, the recovery process has been slow but on the uptick since its soft reopen of international flights. Segura informed that the positive increase in tourism is because 17 international airlines already resumed commercial flights to Costa Rica. It is expected that in the coming weeks there will be 20 airlines resuming flights to the country.

“There is not a single decision that fixes the financial problem of the tourism sector, but serial of decisions are helping, (such as) the reduction of airport fees at the Daniel Oduber International Airport, also four days ago migration (referring to the Directorate General of Migration) extended the legal stay of tourists in the country, a big number of tourists during the pandemic want to live in the country,” Segura said.

One notable policy enabled during the pandemic impacting tourism was specific to tourists coming from China. Segura clarified that Chinese citizens wanting to travel to Costa Rica do not need a visa. Their only requirement is that they must book their trip with a tourist agency located in Costa Rica. Chinese citizens must purchase a travel package in order to travel into the country.

It’s not just reopening air borders, but carrying out negotiations with the Ministry of Finance to allot tourism companies a moratorium on tax payment of taxes and to stop shutting down businesses for delayed tax payments during the pandemic.

In February, intending to boost tourism, the government announced that Chinese citizens from the cities of Beijing and Shanghai do not need a visa to enter the country.
According to the government, this decision is part of a plan to reactivate the economy and the tourism sector that was affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

The first patient identified with covid-19 was in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering of Johns Hopkins University statistics in China, there have been more than 90,000 people who have reported being infected with the virus, of which almost 5,000 have died.

As of this month, citizens of these two cities can enter the country without a visa if they book their trip using a tourism package from a tourism agency or tour operator company registered in Costa Rica.

In 2019, the government documented 16,847 Chinese tourists having arrived in the country by sea, air and land.

"About 10% of China's people travel internationally, which is equivalent to 140 million people," the government said in a statement. "By 2027, the number of people with passports is expected to reach 300 million, which is equivalent to 20% of the Chinese population."

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