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Increasing hospital care, practicing better detection and isolation of positive cases, maintaining the ban-on-driving rule, and expediting the vaccination campaign,
are actions announced by the government to reduce infections by covid-19. - Social Security photo-

Published Monday, May 31, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Increasing hospital care, practicing better detection and isolation of positive cases, maintaining the ban-on-driving rule, and expediting the vaccination campaign, are actions announced by the government to reduce infections by covid-19.

Among the prevention measures is reducing the mobility of people. The reduction in the number of people in business and ban-on-driving remain until June 6.

Starting today, the curfew applies to the entire country until Sunday. Drivers can be on the roads from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. as long as their license plate number isn’t banned.

The driving restrictions are based on the last number of the license plate as follows:

» Today, Monday, May 31, as well as June 2, 4 and 6, vehicles with plates ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 are allowed.
» On June 1, 3, and 5, vehicles with plates ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 are allowed.

Readers can verify the car plate number restrictions by visiting the government website on Covid-19 Vehicle Alert.

After 9 p.m. no vehicle is to be on the streets, except for people traveling to authorized places such as the airport, a clinic, work or a hotel, among others. The list of exceptions that allow any vehicle to drive at night is on the government website on Covid Vehicle Exceptions.

The fine for breaking the law is approximately $180. Traffic officers cannot seize the vehicle or its plates. Officers can no longer reduce driver’s license points for breaking the rule.

Regarding the detection of cases, starting today Social Security will double the number of daily PCR tests, about 9,000 tests, to identify more cases of infected people.

In addition, the National Emergency Commission maintains three containment centers for the care of covid-19 patients in Parrita Puntarenas Province, Limón Province and Barva in Heredia Province. The people cared for in these shelters do not have a suitable place to comply with the quarantine.

These three shelters have a total capacity of 70 people and more spaces could be provided according to the country's demand or need.

In addition, 27 clinics are providing support to 11 hospitals that register a high number of patients infected with covid-19, allowing for 267 beds to be open for the care of patients not infected with covid-19 but with other serious illnesses.

Social Security and the National Insurance Institute signed the agreement that allows the care of covid patients in 24 clinics and the Institute Hospital. This is a two-month agreement, renewable according to the stage of the virus. With this agreement, it is estimated that an average of 60 patients per month could require medical attention in the institute's clinics and hospitals.

Another action was the approval of about $3.8 million by Social Security to contract medical services in private hospitals such as Clínica Bíblica, Hospital Cima, Hospital Metropolitano and La Católica. Patients with diseases other than covid-19 would be cared for in these hospitals. The strategy will free up more space for the care of covid-19 patients in hospitals and public clinics.

The Emergency Commission announced the hiring of 150 doctors to attend by telephone the consultations of patients infected with covid-19 and who are in quarantine at home. The doctors will be hired for three months. In addition, the commission also hired 20 people to man the citizen hotline number 1322.

Regarding expediting the vaccination campaign, the treatment doses have been delivered in all public clinics and Social Security care centers in the country.

As of Monday, 1,457,802 doses had been applied throughout the country. Of these 60,782 correspond to vaccines supplied to the Group-C of high risk. Also, 227,139 doses have been applied to the Group-A of high risk. And 1,169,881 doses to the Group-B of high risk.

To receive the vaccine, foreigners living in Costa Rica must have a residency ID, known as DIMEX, specific for immigrants with resident status. Expats residents must also visit the local community clinic, known as Ebais, to be listed as a candidate for getting the treatment.

To get listed, expats must provide a copy of the DIMEX and one utility bill to verify the person's home address. Home address verification is a requirement to establish the specific public clinic where the person must be attended.

Once verified by the clinic, expats must request to the clinic staff to be placed on the list of vaccination against covid-19. Then clinic staff will provide the vaccine date.

As of Tuesday, the country has imported 2,148,525 doses of which 82.4% have already been applied, the government said.

The Ministry of Health reported on Friday a total of 68,121 active covid-19 cases in the country. Of the total 314,102 cases detected since last year, 3,962 deaths were listed as covid-19 related, approximately 1.3% death rate in Costa Rica.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the pandemic has killed more than 3.5 million people worldwide.

What else should health authorities do to speed up the vaccination campaign? 
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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