Covid Info

OTS Response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

Updated January 20, 2021

The Organization for Tropical Studies is happy to share our response regarding Covid-19 (coronavirus). We regularly monitor the CDC (Center for Disease Control), the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory and the Ministerio de Salud de Costa Rica (Costa Rica Ministry of Health) websites, among others, for the latest updates on issues of concern.

Since November 1, Costa Rica has allowed entry from all countries in the world provided that they meet the country’s visa and Covid-19 entry requirements. All visitors must complete a digital epidemiological health pass, acquire a travel-insurance plan covering Covid-19 that has been approved by the General Superintendence of Insurance, and complete an online health form. International insurance policies must show effectiveness of the policy for the duration of the visit to Costa Rica, guaranteed coverage of medical expenses (minimum of USD$50,000) due to COVID-19, and include minimum coverage of USD$2,000 for lodging expenses if Covid-19 is contracted (see National Insurance Institute or Sagicor). Effective October 26, visitors arriving to Costa Rica will no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, and tourists are not required to quarantine upon entering Costa Rica. Please note: The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for Costa Rica. Citizens are asked to reconsider travel to Costa Rica due to Covid-19 and to exercise increased caution in the country due to crime.

In South Africa, international visitors are now allowed but must undergo a health screening at the port of entry. In addition, travelers must present a negative Covid-19 test, taken no less than 72 hours from the time of departure, or they will be required to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own expense. Visitors are asked to install the “Covid Alert South Africa” mobile app. Public transportation is operating at reduced levels with social distancing and mandatory use of face coverings. Indoor and outdoor gatherings in the country are banned, there is a curfew from 9pm to 6am, and alcohol sales are prohibited.  All shops, bars, and other venues must close by 8pm.  Please note: The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for South Africa. Citizens are asked to reconsider travel to South Africa due to Covid-19 and to exercise increased caution in the country due to crime, civil unrest, health, and drought.

OTS will continue to monitor government websites for changes to travel advisory levels for all countries in which we have operations.

If you have questions, please contact us by email.

Visiting our stations:

The procedures for visiting our Costa Rica stations (i.e. changes in admission procedures, social distancing, food service, required personal protective equipment, etc.) are available online, both in English and in Spanish.  Please review this information prior to your arrival.

Guidance for virus prevention:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC and other government health agencies recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Maintain a physical distance between yourself and other people of at least six feet.
  • Stay home except for essential needs.
  • Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face covering.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about hand washing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.