Costa Rica hits new daily record of COVID-19 infections

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A worker sprays paint on a stencil indicating social distancing on the floor of a bus stop, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in San Jose, Costa Rica July 24, 2020. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate/

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SAN JOSE, April 24 (Reuters) - Costa Rica on Saturday registered 1,830 new COVID-19 infections, its highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic, with space for the most critical patients at public hospitals nearly full, health authorities said.

There have been 238,760 cases and 3,143 deaths from COVID-19 in the Central American country of 5 million people, whose tourism-driven economy has been hit by the pandemic's toll on global travel. read more

"We are living through the darkest health moment of Costa Rica in modern times," Health Minister Daniel Salas said in a televised address to the nation.

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He added that the 125 beds in intensive care units allocated for severe COVID-19 cases are 94% full, and said the remaining space could be filled in the coming days.

Salas said cars could no longer be on the road from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but authorities would not impose a stricter lockdown to avoid hurting the economy.

"We have to take into account that people need to work," Salas said, noting that government resources to disburse financial aid were depleted last year.

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Reporting by Alvaro Murillo, Editing by Daina Beth Solomon and Dan Grebler

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