The Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, Dyalá Jiménez, celebrated this Thursday the agreement reached with Panama to mobilize cargo by land under strict sanitary measures in the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic and said that she hopes that the rest of Central America will join to end the crisis on the Costa Rican borders.
“We hope that other countries will join the agreement and that the region will also begin to build a health protocol,” Jiménez said at the government’s daily press conference to report on the status of the pandemic.
The agreement reached with Panama will take effect on Friday and will allow foreign carriers to enter Costa Rica to deliver cargo to certain fiscal warehouses, rest and collect cargo if they must, and then return to Panama.
The trucking route will be followed by a GPS platform and drivers can only be in Costa Rican territory for 72 hours.
This solution was built between both governments with the collaboration of the private sector, including the Costa Rican transport chambers, to reopen the Paso Canos border post, which is blocked on the Panamanian side by the carriers of that country.
The minister was emphatic that Costa Rica will not allow the entry of carriers with symptoms related to COVID-19.
THE OTHER TWO OPTIONS FOR CARRIERS
Last Monday two decrees of the Government of Costa Rica entered into force that restrict the entry of foreign carriers after having detected in two weeks 50 positive cases in these drivers, who were prevented from entering, most of them on the border with Nicaragua.
Those decrees, which generated discontent in the region, remain in force and provide two options.
The first is to enter a primary border area, unhook the cargo and deliver it to a resident or Costa Rican driver, or disinfect the truck and change the driver for a local or resident one.
The other option is for transporters in transit, that is, those who cross the country from the border with Panama to the border with Nicaragua or vice versa without delivering cargo in Costa Rica, who can enter and make their journey in caravans escorted by the Police. and with specific stops.
Nicaragua keeps its side of the border with Costa Rica closed in protest, which is causing kilometer-long lines of trucks in both countries.
Minister Jiménez said that she will present the solution to the Central American Integration System (SICA) in writing today and that the dialogue with Nicaragua remains open to seek the opening of the border post.
The leader of the National Chamber of Carriers, Francisco Quirós, declared at the press conference that the solution reached with Panama is “viable and practical because it gives a balance between health security and the commercial flow we need in the region.”
THE PANDEMIC IN COSTA RICA
Health Minister Daniel Salas emphasized that Costa Rica’s priority is to protect its citizens because “people’s lives must be above any commercial transaction.”
The data provided by Salas indicates that in the last 24 hours the country detected 6 new cases of COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 903, of which 592 (65%) have already recovered and 10 people have died.
There are currently 12 people hospitalized, of which 3 are in intensive care units.