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Health Order for 14-day Quarantine Upon Entrance to Costa Rica

As many Expats have been wondering, people who are allowed back into the country during this period (meaning between now and until April 12, 2020, at 23:59, when borders are supposed to reopen) will be asked to complete a 14-day quarantine at their place of residency. People who are asked to complete the quarantine period will not be placed in a Hospital or Center, they will simply be asked to sign a Health Order (Orden Sanitaria) that states that the person understands the responsibility and obligation of staying home.
In an effort to make things easier for the Expat community, we had the Health Order translated so that in case you, or someone you know, are asked to sign it, you know what you are being asked to do and the responsibilities that this entails.
Essential to state, as our Ministry of Health has mentioned on numerous occasions, failing to respect the Health Order may result in fines and penalties. This is a matter stipulated on our Penal Code and jail time may be imposed on those who disregard the Health Order.
We will continue to post news as the situation develops.
Stay safe and take care of each other!


a) Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that was discovered in the 1960s but whose origin is still unknown. Its different types cause different diseases, ranging from a cold to a severe respiratory syndrome.

b) The coronavirus owes its name to its appearance since it is very similar to a crown or halo. It is a type of virus present in both humans and animals. Three major epidemic outbreaks caused by coronaviruses have been described in recent years:

1) SARS-CoV: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS, also known as SARS and SRAG) first appeared in November 2002 in China, affecting more than 8,000 people in 37 countries and resulting in more than 700 deaths. SARS-Cov mortality has been estimated at approximately 10%.

2) MERS-CoV: The coronavirus causing the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was first detected in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. As of October 2019, more than 2,400 cases had been reported in various countries, with more than 800 deaths reported. The case fatality rate is therefore 35%.

3) 2019nCoV: In late December 2019, the first cases of a new coronavirus outbreak were reported in the city of Wuhan (China). Since then, the number of new infections has been continuous, including several deaths and it has been confirmed that this coronavirus is transmitted not only from animals to people but from person to person. It does not appear to be either as serious as SARS or as deadly as MERS.

c) Articles 4, 6, 7, 337, 338, 340, 341, 355 and 356 of General Health Law number 5395, of October 30, 1973, and Articles 2, subsections b) and c), and 57 of the Organic Law of the Ministry of Health (No. 5412), of November 8, 1973, establish that health standards are a matter of public interest, and that the Ministry of Health is the competent authority to order and take special measures for the prevention of risks or harm to human health or the spread or worsening of any such risks, as well as to inhibit their prolongation or continuation or relapse.

d) Based on these standards, the Ministry of Health has sufficient police power in health matters -public health-, to dictate all the legal measures that may be required to face and resolve sanitary states of emergency.

e) Given the nature of public health as a legal right of public interest, it is an essential function of the Executive Branch to ensure its protection, in order to uphold the common well-being of the population and the preservation of public order. Based on these faculties, the Ministry of Health has the power to issue mandatory health compliance guidelines for all people.

f) As of January 2020, health authorities activated the protocols to address the international epidemic alert following the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, in response to the alert issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 30 2020. This alert was generated following the detection of a new type of coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, Province of Hubei, China, which has spread to different countries causing fatalities in vulnerable populations and saturated health services.

g) Despite the fact that the Costa Rican health system has protocols and procedures in place for addressing any such alerts, further sanitary measures are necessary in order to reduce the risk of major impacts on society.

h) On March 6, 2020, the Costa Rican Institute of Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Costa Rica.

i) On March 8, 2020, in view of the increasing number of confirmed cases, the Ministry of Health and the National Commissioner for Risk Prevention and Emergency Response determined that the health alert in force by COVID-19 be raised to yellow alert.

j) By means of Executive Decree No. 42227-MP-S, of March 16, 2020, a state of national emergency was declared for the entire territory of the Republic of Costa Rica because of the COVID-19 disease.

k) The Executive Branch, aware of the current epidemic situation worldwide (COVID-19) and in observance of the regulations in force, is required to reinforce all preventive measures resulting in the prevention of risks and the outbreak progression. Because of its nature, this is an easily transmittable virus mostly -yet not exclusively, on symptomatic persons, in places with high migratory flows or certain parts of the world, which entails an increased risk factor in the progression of COVID-19, and may potentially lead to the overcrowding of health services, thus the need to take immediate measures to prevent the transmission and increase of COVID-19 cases.

All of the foregoing considered, YOU ARE HEREBY ORDERED:

1) To remain in self-isolation at your address immediately, which is as an address provided as under oath. Self-isolation will take place for a period of 14 calendar days. Article 365 of the General Health Law establishes that: “Self-isolation of a person or group of people means their separation from all other persons, with the exception of the personnel in charge of their care during the period of transmissibility, or while in places and under conditions that may help prevent the direct -or indirect- transmission of the infectious agent to people or animals that are susceptible or may transmit the disease to others, depending on the severity of the case. ”In order to achieve these purposes, the general guidelines for the home management of COVID-19 cases under investigation, probable or confirmed, must be observed as part of the Coronavirus COVID-19 health alert issued by the Ministry of Health herein.

2) To comply with any sanitary recommendations that health authorities deem applicable for your self-isolation.

3) To cooperate with the health authorities by providing the information required concerning the disease. This public health order is issued aiming to protect and safeguard public health as set out in subsection B) of this health order and the International Health Regulations.

WARNING: Failure to comply with this health order will entail the filing of a legal complaint on the grounds of contempt of authority, as per Article 314 of the Criminal Code, which reads: “A sentence of imprisonment from six months to three years will be imposed on any person who does not comply or enforce, to the fullest extent, an order issued by a court or public official performing their official duties, provided that they have been notified personally, unless in the case of their own detention.”

In accordance with Articles 60 et seq. of the Organic Law of the Ministry of Health, with regard to this health order, an appeal for annulment with a supplementary appeal is to be filed within the 5 business days following such notice. Said appeal may be filed at the Regional Health Directorate, and the ruling must be issued by the Ministry of Health, if necessary. You are hereby warned that, in accordance with Article No. 61 of the Organic Law of the Ministry of Health and Article 148 of the General Law of Public Administration, the filing of the appeal does not suspend the effects of the act, which will remain to be in force while not otherwise provided.

Furthermore, by signing below, you acknowledge that the information provided below is under oath and that you are aware of the penalty imposed upon by Costa Rican law in the case of perjury.











If you want the PDF document download it here.

*Eduardo Zamora collaborated with the translation of the official document.

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Irene Brenes

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