The UN highlights the global leadership of Costa Rica in the fight against COVID-19

The resident representative of the United Nations System in Costa Rica, Alice Shackelford, highlighted on Friday the "global leadership" that this country is exercising in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged it to give priority to social protection.

"Costa Rica has a global leadership in the debates on multilateralism in the search for a joint response. President Carlos Alvarado has contacted several leaders to propose approaches based on multlateralism, the most accessible tests and drugs," he said. Shackelford in an interview with Efe.

One of these actions carried out by the Central American country is an initiative proposed to the World Health Organization so that all countries have free access to the technologies and treatments that are being developed to confront the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease.

Shackelford stressed that the "very strong leadership" of Costa Rica and the attention to the pandemic based on its health system, has allowed the country to have an epidemiological situation "different from the rest of the countries in the region."

Costa Rica counts until this Friday 843 cases of COVID-19, of which nine people have died and almost 65% have already recovered.

Shackelford affirmed that the various UN agencies are providing support to Costa Rica on issues such as initiatives for the education sector, accompaniment of migrants, care for refugees and asylum seekers, gender equality, employment, in addition to matters related to health.

The diplomat commented that the WHO has donated to Costa Rica COVID-19 tests, 18,000 units of protective equipment for health personnel, and also provides technical support of various kinds.

Shackelford indicated that Costa Rica is responding within its possibilities to the multiple edges that the pandemic generates, but emphasized that one of its priorities should be to guarantee social protection, at a time when official projections point to a recession of over 3% for this year.

"We have to find ways to focus on guaranteeing the basic income of the population and their social protection, and the country is working on that," he said.

The representative of the United Nations highlighted some government plans such as the "Protect Bonus", which consists of a three-month subsidy for people who have lost their jobs, or the "Relief Plan", aimed at supporting small and medium-sized companies.

In Costa Rica, a country of 5 million inhabitants, about 600,000 people have applied for the protect voucher, according to official data.

Shackelford also pointed out that the government's dialogue with all sectors, solidarity, as well as political unity within the country, must prevail far from polarizations in order to provide solutions for the people.

"Solidarity is fundamental in the sense that we can all do something, no government has the capacity to attend to everything," he argued.

The diplomat also highlighted that Costa Rica has historically been an example of defense and respect for human rights, which should prevail in the attention of the pandemic.

In this sense, he said that migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are often among the most vulnerable populations in this type of health emergency, and assured that the UN will continue to support Costa Rica in dealing with these phenomena.


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