Costa Rica balances economy and full hospitals, says president –


President Carlos Alvarado has said Costa Rica is trying to balance economic activity with the health of the population, even as the country’s public health system is saturated with Covid-19 patients.

“I understand what is going on in hospitals and I understand what is going on with employment,” President Alvarado said, speaking on Radio Teletica.

“This is not an easy dilemma, the one we live in.”

The Tico leader said that while other countries have the “luxury” of subsidizing economic shutdowns, Costa Rica can no longer afford the “Bono Proteger” that provided some economic relief earlier in the pandemic.

“Protecting the greatest number of people and maintaining the greatest number of jobs while ensuring the mental health of our people: this is one of the greatest challenges we have faced,” said Alvarado.

The Costa Rican government this week announced a limited set of restrictions despite pressure from the healthcare system to adopt more significant measures.

Most commercial businesses can operate with some capacity restrictions, schools offer in-person learning, and borders remain open to inbound tourists.

Costa Rica recorded 3,173 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, a new record. Meanwhile, 1,320 people are hospitalized for Covid-19, including 487 in an intensive care bed, which has impacted the ability of the public health system to provide quality and timely care to all patients.

But unemployment in Costa Rica remains high at 18.7%, an increase of more than 6 percentage points from the same period last year.


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