Costa Rican Government Actions Under COVID-19

by | Feb 14, 2022 | Costa Rica | 1 comment

How Has Costa Rica Flattened the Coronavirus Curve So Far?

The earliest case of COVID-19 in the country was detected on March 6. Before that, government entities were already studying the progression of the pandemic and the actions implemented around the world to contain it.

Why did the government start to take early action against the virus? Basically because of the existing health infrastructure in the country. Costa Rica has among the lowest rates of beds per inhabitant (1.1 / 1,000 inhabitants) in Central America and the Caribbean. As of April 6, there were 227 ICUs (Intensive Care Units) available in the country. Before the coronavirus, the occupancy rate of these units was approximately 80%.

Some vital stats Infographics by Roman Vergara - Data source:
Some vital stats by Roman Vergara – Data source:

Protecting the Health Care System

This was the scenario that prompted the government to implement early measures to avoid a collapse of the health system. They immediately warned that a geometric rate of growth in the number of cases would quickly translate into a high demand for health resources.  The first action, to address this point, was to postpone elective surgical interventions, so as to ensure greater availability of beds and ICUs in case they were required.

Infographics by Roman Vergara - Data source:
Infographics by Roman Vergara – Data source:

The main measures taken are presented below in chronological order.


Activation of protocols to face the sanitary-epidemiological alert


The campaign: “Shield of Protection against COVID-19”


Yellow alert statement


Suspension of mass concentration activities


Closing of bars, restaurants, cinemas, and casinos


Decree of national emergency and compulsory isolation of passengers


Suspension of classes, national and international flights, closure of borders


Closure of beaches, temples and religious services


Vehicle restriction


Foreign entry restriction

These policies have been successful, considering the case fatality rate (people deceased/total cases), and the number of people infected.

Social Distancing

But there was still the problem of the social distancing necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. A series of complementary measures were activated to prevent people from walking the streets unnecessarily, access to markets and supermarkets was limited, preventing the entry of companions, and a call was made to the public’s conscience to respect the regulations. Most people abided by the mandate, which shows a degree of positive awareness.

However, the road that remains is long. Job losses, the impact on the economy, the announcement of a recession, are issues that concern the majority of the population. But the government is also concerned, since people, motivated by the positive results on the coronavirus in the country that are published daily, may begin to breach the restrictions imposed and thus cause a rebound in infections and deaths.

Every day, around noon, a press conference is held headed by the Health Minister, where progress on the cases is reported, new measures or extensions of the existing ones are announced, and questions from various media are answered. They are seeking, first, to keep the population permanently informed, thus generating greater confidence in the health system. And second, to combat the hoaxes or false information campaigns that various people or entities spread irresponsibly.

In summary, the low number of reported cases of infection and deaths can be said to be the result of effective measures implemented in a timely manner, and the responsible attitude of the people, in compliance with health guidelines.

In a future article, the topic of the economic impact on the country and the government measures to mitigate it will be discussed.

What is the government doing in your country to flatten the curve? Please share in the comment section below or in one of our forums.

by: Roman Vergara