UN Offers Health Support for Costa Rica’s Border with Nicaragua

The first phase of the support plan consists of financial aid and cooperation in public health measures and medicine for the most vulnerable

The United Nations System announced a support plan to allow Costa Rica to give greater attention to COVID-19 cases in the northern zone of the country. In the last few days, that area – bordering Nicaragua – has emerged as a hotspot for COVID-19 infections in Costa Rica.

“Costa Rica, in conjunction with the United Nations System, will be carrying out a plan of public health cooperation in the northern zone. This support is offered thanks to our requests and dialogue with the UN in Costa Rica, and with Secretary General Antonio Gutierres,” stated Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado in a press conference.

The UN’s resident coordinator in Costa Rica is Alice Shackelford. She noted that Costa Rica has been recognized “as an international model” in attention to the pandemic, and that the objective is for it to continue that way.

Shackleford added that the first phase of the support plan will consist of approximately US $350,000 in financial aid, and also coordinated actions in the northern zone of Costa Rica, accompanying the Costa Rican public health authorities.

According to the diplomat, the plan is to strengthen the administration of certain areas for medical evaluation and classification of patients, with the goal of offering access to the most vulnerable populations.

The plan also includes medications and an on-the ground task force, according to Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister, Rodolfo Solano.

The effort involves Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission, the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Social Security Agency, and the Direction of Immigration, in conjunction with UN agencies such as the Pan-American Health Organization, the International Organization for Migration, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Of the 804 patients in Costa Rica that currently have active cases of the virus, 304 are located in the northern zone, where historically there’s an irregular flow of Nicaraguans entering the country to look for work.

The Costa Rican government has affirmed that one of the country’s main risks of contagion stems from the lack of preventive measures on the part of the Nicaraguan government, and the widespread contagion there. The exact magnitude of this is difficult to determine, due to a lack of reliable data.

The UN representative in Costa Rica called on the country to continue being an example of solidarity, and on the population to distance themselves from xenophobic and discriminatory messages about immigrants.

The pandemic in Costa Rica

On June 14, the Costa Rican Health Ministry reported a cumulative total of 1,715 Covid-19 cases. Of these, 951 were active, 752 had recovered and 12 had died.

Costa Rica is facing a second wave of the pandemic amid a plan for reopening economic activity that continues unfolding.

For now, the authorities have decided to strengthen the restrictions on vehicle traffic and the opening of business in the northern zone of the country, given the increase in cases.


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