The COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis has taken the world by surprise. The way we live will change after 2020, and traveling will definitely not be an exception. However, making a decision to travel internationally to a country where they have positively managed COVID-19 is going to be a must.
Besides traveling safely, you will need to travel to a place where all the hygienic standards and protocols are clear and consistently followed and the people with whom you will be surrounded by will have a great understanding of hygiene and ways to protect themselves and others around them.
How about a little bit of context?
In mid-December 2019, the coronavirus cases started to be detected in Wuhan, a province of China while the world continued its path and its way of living. Over the next few months, the virus spread to many countries, and on January 24th the first case was detected in Europe, and on January 30th the first case was detected in the United States. In Costa Rica, it took a little bit longer to be detected. March 6th was when the first case was detected within the country. Up to June 22nd, 2277 cases were positive and 1043 have been recovered.
Costa Rica’s Safety Measures
The serious actions that Costa Rica took before the first case arrived has been key to the superior handling and international recognition of the country’s control of the spread of the coronavirus. There are various reasons that have given Costa Rica this international recognition. For example, the safety measures taken by the Health Minister, its universal health system, and the discipline with which its population has taken in order to fulfill the Health Minister’s protocols.
Another aspect that Costa Rica has taken advantage of is being a small country; they have been able to centralize all the positive cases in one hospital created just to take care of the positive cases. This has become a fortress, so there is less exposure to the rest of hospitals and population.
As long as Costa Rican citizens have stayed at home, that’s what the authorities have recommended, that’s how the discipline from Costa Ricans has been tested, positive results have yielded. Also, the Costa Rican government has taken other measures with the help of other institutions. For example, public universities are using their cars to deliver medicines all over the country, so people who require medications regularly don’t need to leave of their houses to go to the hospitals in order to fill their prescriptions.
Public hospitals have also canceled appointments that aren’t urgent. Also, the education that the Health Minister has given to the population about the proper and necessary hygiene methods they need to use to stay safe and keep those safe around them has given them great results.
The international media has highlighted Costa Rica’s effort. Another safety measure that is being implemented is that as soon as someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, and his/her condition is stable, that person needs to be quarantined at home and the nationalized health care medical staff follows up on their condition through phone calls and by making periodic visits to the patient’s home so that he/she doesn’t go out and expose more people.
These are a few examples of how Costa Rica’s safety measures are giving positive results. Costa Rican citizens trust their government and the decisions that the medical specialists take and that’s an essential ingredient for the nation’s success.
Costa Rica’s Safety Measures for tourism
Costa Rica is popularly known for its tourism and the tourism sector has been greatly affected due to coronavirus. That’s why the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism is taking serious actions and creating clear safety protocols for when international tourism is possible. Guides, hotels, tour agencies, tour operators, transportation, restaurants, and every sector that is involved in tourism have already put these protocols into use through national tourism and are working hard to provide the best safety standards.
- Guides: They are the face of tourism, and they will be following these principles: accountability, transparency, ethics, collective construction with stakeholders, and respect for human rights. They will act as preventers of the expansion of a disease following the hygiene protocols outlined by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism. They will act as facilitators to show how to follow correct handwashing techniques, the correct way to sneeze and cough, the importance of not touching one’s face and new ways of greeting, respecting the distance, and using the least contact possible.
- Guides will carry antibacterial gel to constantly clean their hands and the tourists’ hands and will make sure that protocols are correctly applied in every place that they visit. Guides will be in charge of taking care of the recommended social distance between people who are not from the same social bubble, which is 1.8 meters.
- Hotels: Hotels will have other safety measures that will be obligatory for their correct functioning. They must have clean drinking water, antibacterial soap and gel, and disposable towels so that every guest has access to them and uses these items frequently. The cleaning and hygiene measures need to be intensified and their sanitation systems will be recorded so that they are consistent. Everything that is handled by the guests must first be disinfected (for example, the keys of the room).
- If the hotel provides restaurant service, each table should have a distance of 1.8 meters between them.
- Transportation: Transportation vehicles will be disinfected before each transfer, with special emphasis on the places which are touched most often. Natural ventilation on the way of the travel can be used too. Tourism buses, vans, and private vehicles will have disinfection supplies for everyone and if needed, stops can be made so that everyone can have access to extensive hand washing. If you need more information about the protocols on other services, reach us out and we will be glad to let you know more information or check the official information on this link.
Safety for everyone
High hygiene standards will be the new face of tourism in Costa Rica. Just as Costa Rica is famous for its biodiversity, ecotourism, and environmental sustainability; positively and effectively managing coronavirus and taking quick action on how to face it and prevent its spread is definitely going to be another way Costa Rica takes a leadership position within the world. Costa Ricans are eager to share once again tourism and traditions with people from all over the world. Travel is part of everyone’s lives, the joy that it gives is amazing and not only to the traveler, but also for the locals. In Costa Rica, we are waiting for you.
Ana Victoria Zamora is Costa Rica Explorations Program Manager, born in Turrialba where Costa Rica Explorations has its operations base.
She is part of different voluntary projects in and out of her community mainly with ecological projects.
She loves hiking, sports, adventure activities, and when she is not on the mainland, you can find her diving.