The coronavirus pandemic is a strong reality currently hitting almost all countries in the world. To date, 1.4 million infected people have been counted worldwide. However, Costa Rica is the country in Central America with the fewest deaths from this virus and was one of the first to take sanitary measures to prevent its spread.
According to Lina Barrantes, executive director of the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress, “Costa Rica had its first case of coronavirus on March 6, 2020, and the growth curve of the epidemic has been flattening more and more. The government has imposed strict measures, but not as drastic as absolute confinement, however, our economy will come out very battered from this crisis.”
Costa Rica a country that invests in education and not in weapons.
Since the abolition of its army in 1948, Costa Rica has invested its national budget in health and education, which was previously directed towards military expenditure. Thanks to the high level of education that the Costa Ricans have, people, respect and obey the sanitary measures issued by the Government. Compared to other Central American nations, in which the army must remain on the streets so that its citizens abide by the rules.
For Lina Barrantes, this investment in science and education sees the results for example in the “Instituto Clodomiro Picado”, ready to manufacture an auto-immune serum with the plasma of patients who have overcome the virus, to treat those infected.
It is the country’s public universities that in one week designed and tested a prototype respirator that is going to be manufactured here in the country. It is the school canteens, today closed by the epidemic, but still distributing food to the children who usually received lunch in those schools.
Timely action against COVID-19.
Among the most important measures that have been taken in Costa Rica to combat COVID-19, is social distancing, limiting the hours of vehicle circulation during the Easter period (for now). All this to reduce the flow of people on the street. Complying with the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, for flattening the curve of contagion.
Another fact to know is that Costa Rica started in this epidemic with approximately 600 respirators (a quick search on the Internet informs that its neighbors, all with much more population, started, Nicaragua with 100, Guatemala with 60 and Honduras with 100). Two weeks after the beginning of the crisis, Costa Rica already was up o 800.
As of April 3rd, Costa Rica had only 23 people hospitalized (13 in the ICU), but it is preparing. In these two weeks, the country has built a hospital with a capacity of 88 new beds for intensive care. The time gained from the epidemic has allowed the country to prepare even better.
Artificial respirators made by the University of Costa Rica.
It was recently announced that a low-cost artificial respirator prototype was created by the University of Costa Rica, which will soon be made available for patients, once it has passed all the tests and health protocols. The first trials of the respirator have shown very positive results. It is worth mentioning that this prototype is being prepared as part of the integral preventive measures to completely control the outbreak in the country and thus save many Costa Rican lives.
Costa Rica continues to set an example for the entire world to see, which, despite being small, it can be well prepared in advance for the eventualities that come its way.