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Due to the Increase in COVID-19 Cases in Costa Rica, Vehicle Circulation Restriction Returns on Weekends

Written by Marisol

The Government of Costa Rica announced the reinstatement of the vehicle license plate circulation restriction on weekends, starting this April 17th. Thus, the plates ending in 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 will only circulate on Saturdays while on Sundays only those ending in 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 will do so.

The measure, described as “indispensable” in the press release, responds to the accelerated rebound in cases of the novel Coronavirus, the high rate of reproduction of the Virus, the limited hospital capacity as well as the circulation in the national territory of new variants of SARS- CoV-2.

According to the Presidential Office, in the last month the infections and those hospitalized doubled, while the deceased also increased; upward trend that continued this week and which projections that the trend continues. This past April 15th alone, 1,121 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, while the total number of hospital internees reached 507 people – 236 of them in intensive care.

Sustained increase

“We note with great concern the sustained increase in cases every day, in addition to the growth in deaths. This leads us to take an immediate measure that is the restriction of vehicle circulation on weekends. It is a measure that has statistically shown to have a strength and an important impact on mobilization and infections”, defended the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas Peraza.

The nighttime and midweek restriction will remain unchanged, the statement specifies. In this way, the transit of vehicles will continue to be prohibited from 11:00 p.m. and until 5:00 a.m., while the prohibitions on the mobilization of cars by license plate (weekdays) will remain in force only for the central area of San José (provision that existed before the Pandemic to reduce road congestion).

Only the extremely necessary

“We ask that all mobilizations that are not extremely necessary be reduced. Plan well what trips you are going to do and how you are going to do them because any mobility that can be avoided helps save lives,” added the head of the health portfolio.

Studies from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the State of the Nation Program (PEN), as well as international research from the United Kingdom, China, the United States and Italy have shown that reducing mobility is the best measure to lower circulation of the Virus.

According to a study developed by experts from the higher education institution, the restriction on weekends combined with an adequate application of protocols has great potential to reduce infections.

Stricter measures

This measure comes hand in hand with the announcement of the previous April 12th, of new control operations on roads and in commercial establishments. “We will increase the operations of sanitary vehicle restriction by plates. In addition, the Public Force and other police will be controlling the gauges so that they adhere to the current regulations,” said this April 15th the Deputy Minister of Public Security, Eduardo Solano Solano.

Until now, the Executive Branch ruled out new restrictions applicable to commercial activities. As part of the new measures, the Ministry of Health resumed the daily publication of data on its website. This will be done from Monday to Friday before 7:00 p.m.

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