Since May 8, Costa Rica is requiring truckers crossing into their country to be tested for the covid-19. The drivers must submit to a test and wait for results before allowed to enter the country.
As of Thursday, May 23, in less than a week, Costa Rica health officials have detected 23 cases of drivers testing positive for the covid-19 and as such were denied entry.
Troubling is that these 23 drivers were asymptomatic, while an unknown number of others with symptoms were denied entry but were not tested.
On Tuesday, a Nicaraguan trucker abandoned his rig on the Nicaragua side fo the border, walked across to the Costa Rica side and collapsed. He was later confirmed testing positive for the covid-19.
The results are yet another indication that the spread of the virus in Nicaragua may be greater than what the Ortega government recognizes only 25 confirmed cases of the covid-19. And when deducting the 7 recovered and 8 deaths, the active cases are only 10.
But the reality is another thing in a country that has not implemented measures of social distancing and continues to promote mass concentrations.
Marvin Altamirano, president of the Nicaraguan Truckers Association, said that so far there is confirmation of five infected drivers.
It is not taking days to cross into Costa Rica from Nicaragua. While the testing is done at the border, the clinical process is carried out in San Jose.
“Yesterday (Wednesday) we had 600 trucks stopped and today we have 800 stopped in a backlog of 23 kilometers,” Altamirano said. “The losses are US$100 a day for each truck stopped,” he added.
On Thursday (May 14), the U.S. Embassy in Managua issued a health alert, warning its citizens in Nicaragua, on social networks and its website to take measures to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
“Independent health organizations report that the actual number of cases is possibly much higher. Independent reports also hint that the spread of COVID could be affecting the ability of an effective response in the medical system in regions outside of Managua,” the alert noted.
Not all truckers seeking to enter Costa Rica are Nicaraguans. The countries of Central America are allowing the moving of cargo through its borders, converting the truckers as a source of contagion. Costa Rica is the only country in Central America with mandatory testing. El Salvador, which has the strictest measures in the region to combat the spread of the virus, only takes the temperature of truckers at its borders.
International pressure is mounting on the Nicaraguan government to implement further measures to curb the spread of the virus and provide a more transparent count of the number of cases.
Despite official figures, there are more and more reports of crowded hospitals and “express burials” of alleged victims of the coronavirus.
On Wednesday, the Nicaraguan government placed more than 2,800 inmates under house arrest as reports of alleged COVID-19 cases increased in the country’s prisons. The government indicated that it was a gesture for the celebration of Mother’s Day.
Unofficial sources place the number of infected in Nicaragua in the hundreds, with almost 200 dead, though the official diagnoses is “death by pneumonia”.
The population asks, if that is the case, why the need for the “men in white suits” and the practice of night burials.