Costa Rica asks PAHO to Review Nicaragua’s “Reckless Management” of Covid-19

A group of people transport a coffin to a Managua cemetery. Photo: Jorge Torres / EFE, Confidencial

Costa Rican Congress complains: “we’re being exposed to the risk of contagion by the irresponsible attitude of the Nicaraguan leaders.”

Por Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) should review the real state of the pandemic in Nicaragua, given the “risks” that it represents for the neighboring countries, the Costa Rican Congress requested this Thursday.

In a letter addressed to Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO director, 52 of the 57 deputies that make up the Costa Rican congress expressed their concern over the situation of the novel Coronavirus in Nicaragua and asked the organization to take urgent and forceful action with regard to this.

“The concerns extend to the effects that this reckless management of the crisis on the part of the Nicaraguan government can have on neighboring countries such as Costa Rica. With our country making all the efforts within reach to contain the pandemic, we feel that it’s not fair for us to be exposed to risks of contagion by the irresponsible attitude of the Nicaraguan leaders,” read the text.

The Nicaraguan government has received harsh criticism for the slow public health measures they’ve taken to confront COVID-19. According to the official data from the country, Nicaragua has only registered 25 confirmed cases of the virus with 8 deaths, giving them a mortality rate of 32%, the highest in the Americas.  Meanwhile, the independent group Citizens COVID-19 Observatory has counted at least 1033 suspected cases of infection, and has noted 188 new registered deaths from pneumonia in the country, very possibly due to the novel Coronavirus.

In the letter, the Costa Rican deputies demanded an outside evaluation of the situation in Nicaragua, since that information would allow the organizations of civil society and governments of the region to take the measure within their reach to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

“We justify our request with the pronouncement issued in April from more than 600 health professionals in Nicaragua, expressing the dramatic conditions they face in doing their work and describing problems such as the sub-registry of infections and deaths, the covering up of relevant information, the absence of measures of contention, etc.,” the letter from the deputies continued.

Costa Rica continues to keep its borders closed to foreigners, and in the last weeks has reinforced the border guard, especially at certain unmarked crossings where the irregular immigration of Nicaraguans often occurs.

Statistics from this Thursday indicate that Costa Rica has had 830 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, of which 535 (64.5%) of patients have recovered and 8 have died for a mortality rate of 1%.

Due to their successful flattening of the curve, on Monday, May 11, Costa Rica announced a plan for tapering off the restrictions on economic activity in the country. The plan contemplates four phases beginning on May 16, and continuing through the month of August, with the warning that the reopening process could be suspended if there’s a strong uptick in cases. 

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