September 24, 2020

Truckers want realistic biosecurity measures in Central America



Truckers in Central America have “hope” that the crisis at the borders will end with the approval of a regional biosecurity protocol for the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic that includes realistic measures and not those imposed by Costa Rica , which are “unfeasible”, one of his representatives told EFE this Sunday.

Central American authorities have been called on Monday to discuss and approve a biosafety protocol that seeks to “solve the problem in the region and guarantee the fluidity of trade”, held back for a week by blockades on the Panama border and the closure of the Nicaraguan one , which threatens a shortage in the isthmus according to the businessmen.

This in rejection of two decrees from Costa Rica that since last May 18 restrict the transit of foreign truckers in their territory after the COVID-19 was detected in fifty hundred of them, who were prevented from entering the country.

The regional committee that draws up the biosafety protocol has received recommendations from the trucking unions in the region, which they hope will be taken into account, the president of the National Chamber of Cargo Transport of Panama, Andrés Tito Muñoz, told EFE on Sunday. .

“They have asked us a series of questions and what we have tried is to give them an idea of ​​what we live on a daily basis. What happens in practice is not the same as what is believed to be possible,” he said.

The Central American transport groups “hold daily meetings (…) we have all the hope in the world that the government of Costa Rica will understand” that their measures are “unfeasible”.

THE BORDER LOCK

The Government of Honduras ordered this Saturday to restrict the entry of Costa Rican truckers into its territory in accordance with the “principle of reciprocity” and set a maximum period of 72 hours for their stay in the country.

Despite an agreement announced last Wednesday by the governments of Panama and Costa Rica, Panamanian carriers maintain the blockade in Paso Canoas, where there is a row of 90 trucks with their containers, while close to another hundred, without cargo, have arrived. support the protest.

“The Government of Costa Rica must be clear that the cargo transport sector is prepared to stay there for as many days as necessary, and we are not going to allow any Costa Rican to enter,” the union leader said this Sunday.

He asserted that the Central American borders “are not closed, but no one is going to travel under the conditions” that Costa Rica imposed and that include delivering the cargo to collection centers so that a Costa Rican driver distributes it in the country, among others.

“What we ask is to deliver our cargo. Just as they would take us to a warehouse to unload, to take us to our clients to load and we retired from Costa Rica. We don’t want to go to the park or the cinema. We sleep and eat inside our trucks “Muñoz said, denying that drivers spread the new coronavirus.

HEALTH RISKS

With the entry into force of the restrictions, Costa Rica stopped applying the COVID-19 test at its borders, especially in Nicaragua, a process that began on May 5 and contributed to the agglomeration of trucks there.

“There are more than 1,000 trucks. Each driver puts every day in a bag (their stools) because there are no toilets. At any time there will be a cholera epidemic, not counting those who already have the coronavirus and who are without attention,” he asserted.

Muñoz thanked the governments of Panama and Nicaragua for the efforts to repatriate three Panamanian truckers with COVID-19 from the Nicaraguan sector of Las Tablillas last night.

“Today we have a serious one, that the boy does not get worse and he dies, because the only person responsible is going to be the Government of Costa Rica,” said Muñoz.

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