OTS Alerts

OTS Response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

Updated May 30, 2020

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.

International travel into Costa Rica is closed until at least June 30.  In South Africa, the borders remain closed to international travelers for the foreseeable future.  We will update this site when an entry date is announced.

OTS will continue to monitor government websites for changes to travel advisory levels for all countries in which we have operations. Under the directive from the Ministry of the Environment and in order to ensure the safety of all students, researchers, and visitors to OTS field stations, we have canceled all reservations and no new reservations will be accepted for station visits through at least June 1. Reservations may be booked during this time for a future date, but such reservations will be tentative and nonbinding.

Our guidance to students, researchers, and visitors is essentially the same as for any flu-like disease, which includes: thoroughly washing your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. (See below for detailed instructions.)

In all of our programs, guidance on everyday preventative measures to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases is being reinforced.

If you have questions, please contact us by email.

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 6 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 mask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including Covid-19.
    • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of Covid-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • 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.