Back on May 16 the Costa Rican Government announced its decision to limit the entry of foreign cargo drivers to the country with the purpose of preventing borders from eventually becoming an area of transmission of Covid-19.
Before this Presidential decree Costa Rica was testing all cargo drivers for Covid-19 before entering the country, situation that was causing delays with cargo (getting the results could take up to 48 hours)and also causing problems for drivers that tested positive and had to be denied entry to the country. According to the Ministry of Health in the few days they carried out tests
50 truck drivers tested positive.
The new measures in place state that only Costa Rican or foreigners with legal migratory status will be allowed to move merchandise internally in the country, foreign drivers are asked to bring their unit to the primary area at the border facility, unhook their truck for cleaning and disinfection, and another driver (Costa Rican or foreigners with legal migratory status) either take the truck or hook another truck to move the cargo internally .
The only foreign drivers that are allowed in the country are those that move merchandise from border to border and these are escorted by Costa Rican authorities and allowed only one stop.
The measures have had a negative response from foreign drivers and in particular cargo drivers from Nicaragua who have been blocking the border demanding that the measures are lifted, and things go back to how they used to be.
“We are going to block the transit with the purpose of pressuring governments to find a solution”, commented Marvin Altamirano, President of the Nicaraguan Association of Cargo Drivers.
The situation is causing chaos in the border since the blockage is also affecting the transit of buses and vehicles.
The President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, has reported that there are over 1,000 cargo trucks from different Central American countries stuck at the border due to “unilateral measures” taken by the Costa Rican government.
Drivers are facing a very difficult situation, stuck at the border with limited sanitary conditions.
The current situation is affecting the commerce in the region and causing millions in losses.
Guatemala is urging Costa Rica to find a solution to the situation. Honduras and Panama are now also taking similar measures concerning foreign cargo drivers which is expected to worsen the situation for the transportation of goods in the Central American region.
Panama on the other hand, has been willing to work with Costa Rica on viable solutions; however, the drivers have also opposed to some of the measures.