The Government of Costa Rica insisted on Wednesday to the rest of Central American countries that they join a health pilot plan that has launched with Panama for the transport of cargo that protects the health of drivers and the population of the region in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, Dyalá Jiménez, stated at the conference that her country has applied restrictions on foreign carriers to prevent an escalation of COVID-19 infections, forcing them to seek “innovative” solutions that guarantee the flow commercial and health protection.
After 9 days of closure, on Tuesday Panama’s carriers unblocked Paso Canoas, the main border post with Costa Rica, after the Panamanian government decided to apply reciprocal measures to Costa Rican carriers, for example unloading in fiscal warehouses and remaining on Panamanian soil 72 hours maximum.
A week ago the Governments of Costa Rica and Panama reached an agreement that establishes a sanitary route that allows Panamanian carriers to be in Costa Rican territory for 72 hours to deliver product in fiscal warehouses, rest, lift cargo and return to their country. The route is followed by GPS.
Minister Jiménez said that at least 40 trucks have entered Costa Rica since the reopening of the border with Panama.
This Wednesday Honduras also began to apply a reciprocal measure that gives 72 hours of stay to Costa Rican drivers, but also will not allow the registration and initiation in Honduras of the Unique Central American Declarations of Transit (DUCA-T), destined for Costa Rica with Carrier codes different from Honduras.
The Costa Rican minister declared that the reciprocal measures are an opportunity to “begin to test pilot plans that allow us the commercial flow and coexist with the pandemic.”
On May 18, Costa Rica began to restrict the entry of foreign carriers after detecting 50 cases of COVID-19 in these drivers, most on the border with Nicaragua, a country that has been criticized for taking few preventive measures against the pandemic and which according to the WHO is in the community transmission phase.
The Costa Rican Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, recognized this Wednesday that the level of contagion in Nicaragua is currently the “main health risk” for Costa Rica.
THE POLEMICAL SANITARY MEASURES OF COSTA RICA
Since May 18, Costa Rica, a country that has kept the transmission of the virus under control, established that the only foreign drivers who can enter the country are those who do not deliver cargo in this country, but those who move from the border with Panama. towards the Nicaraguan border and vice versa. Those trucks must move in caravans escorted by the police.
For the rest, Costa Rica stipulated that they must unhook the cargo at the border and deliver it to a Costa Rican truck or that of a resident; or disinfect the truck and deliver it to a local or resident driver.
After the disagreement that this generated in the region, the Panamanian carriers closed the passage on their side of the border.
The Nicaraguan government keeps its border posts with Costa Rica closed in protest and there are kilometer-long lines of trucks in both countries.
As a solution, Costa Rica and Panama agreed on the sanitary route followed by GPS and with a time limit of stay in the country, a modality that the Costa Rican authorities hope will be accepted by the rest of the countries of the region.