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Significant pandemic milestones:

  • February 21st: Likely transfer of coronavirus from a teacher (who had traveled to Europe)  to Panama's first coronavirus death victim (Norato González); Click Here
  • March 3rd: Resolution passed raising national alert level regarding coronavirus epidemic; Click Here
  • March 8th: First confirmed coronavirus death (Norato González) in Panama; Click Here
  • March 9th: First confirmed case of coronavirus in Panama; not the date of case arrival in Panama, but the date the coroniavirus link was confirmed; Click Here
  • March 12th: President Cortizo declares a a national state of emergency; Click Here
  • March 15th: Certain business hours regulated, elective surgeries and routine medical consults suspended; Click Here
  • March 15th: Several provinces invoke a "dry law" (banning sales of alcoholic beverages) and implementing curfews; Chiriqui Province included; Click Here
  • March 15th: Foreigners banned from entering Panama; Click Here
  • March 17th: Countrywide curfew (9:00PM to 5:00AM) mandated; Click Here
  • March 22nd: All commercial flights into and out of Panama suspended; Click Here
  • March 23rd: Countrywide curfew (5:00PM to 5:00AM) mandated; Click Here
  • March 25th: Countrywide quarantine with restricted mobility mandated; sales of alcoholic beverages banned; Click Here
  • May 11th: Effective date of lifting the ban on the sales of alcoholic beverages; Click Here
  • May 13th: The gradual reopening of certain categories of business; Click Here
  • May 18th: People are authorized to leave their homes to exercise outdoors, but on a short lease; Click Here
  • June 1st: Quarantine lifted, but a 7:00PM to 5:00AM curfew is in effect; Click Here
  • June 3rd: Hardware stores reopen with limited hours; Click Here
  • June 6th and June 8th: Curfew/mobility restrictions elevated for Panama, Panama Oeste, and Veragaus regions; Click Here and Click Here
  • July 25th: Full weekend quarantine (lockdown) re-implemented for Panama; Click Here
  • July 27th: More restrictive mobility constraints including gender restrictions re-implemented, including Chiriqui Province; Click Here and Click Here
  • August 14th: Tocumen International Airport begins to open up to limited flights; Click Here
  • August 17th: Some "Block 3" businesses will be permitted to start operations; Click Here
  • September 14th: Relaxation of mobility constraints for all but three provinces; Chiriqui, Colon, and Bocas del Toro constraints continue; Click Here

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Get used to the weekend lockdowns.  My contact told me before Easter that Panama would be locking down the weekends. THEN, the notices from the US Embassy said, if you go back and read them, satu

That is recklessly false.  Right now there are two cruise ships where all passengers are quarantined.  Given how rotovirus spreads in a cruise ship environment, those ships are not a good place to be,

All of these efforts might slow the spread of the virus, but I don't see how it's going to stop it.  You can definitely have the virus and not be showing any symptoms.  Screening at airports or other

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Bocas seeks burial site for covid victims

cemetry-bocas.jpg

Posted 17/07/2020

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Bocas del Toro cemeteries are full and health authorities are looking for land that meets sanitary requirements, to be used for the burial of people who die of COVID-19.

On Friday, July 17 Legal Advisory and Environmental Sanitation personnel from the Ministry of Health in this region of the country participated in a meeting with authorities from the Municipality of Changuinola, the National Authority for Land Administration (ANATI), the Secretary-General of the Banana Industry Workers Union (Sitraibana) to discuss solutions.

According to the epidemiological report, there is an accumulation of coronavirus cases of 1,697. with near two percent death rate

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/bocas-seeks-burial-site-for-covid-victims-1

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Panamá extiende la prohibición de vuelos internacionales, hasta el 21 de agosto

Redacción de La Prensa
17 jul 2020 - 05:43 PM

https://www.prensa.com/economia/panama-extienda-la-prohibicion-de-vuelos-internacionales-hasta-el-21-de-agosto/

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From panatimes.com another hint that the authorities are putting their emphasis on contagion and transmission, rather than on therapies and immunity:

Minsa evaluates applying total quarantine on weekends in Colón, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro

 
Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre announced on Friday 17 July that they are evaluating the possibility of applying the total quarantine on weekends in the provinces of Colón, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro in light of the increase in cases of COVID-19.
 
Here is an official picture of the heat-sensing drone deployed in the province of Cocle:
Drone.thumb.jpg.ca62d6092737ceecbfa36b6fd7c22588.jpg
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Even scarier than Linces riding roughshod over gated club communities carrying automatic weapons.  What's next, Panama? "Crowd dusting"?  Jeez.

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Moderator comment: It now appears that as of Saturday, July 18th the Minsa website issues have been resolved. Hopefully there will be no more discrepancies or missing data.

As of late Saturday, July 18th, 2020 - 51,408 cases, 1,038 deaths, 26.520 recoveries. 180,814 Covid-19 tests administered to date.

minsa.jpg

Tocumen and Arraijan are jockeying for the dubious status of being the "hotspot" in Panama. The numbers keep going up.

tocumen.jpg

Alto Boquete now reporting 34 confirmed cases. Bajo Boquete reporting 12 cases. We now have visibility into Los Naranjos as well, with 9 cases.

alto boquete.jpg             bajo boquete.jpg             los naranjos.jpg

The "Chiriqui hotspot" of Nuevo Méjico/Divalá, which is just west of David, reporting 249 cases. Click Here for more information about Nuevo Méjico and Divalá.

divala.jpg             nuevo mexico.jpg

https://geosocial.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/2c6e932c690d467b85375af52b614472

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Lockdown extension considered as virus deaths soar

intensive.jpg

167 in intensive care

Posted 18/07/2020

Following the announcement of  38 deaths from COVID- 19  on Friday, July 17, the highest daily figure since the virus struck Panama on March 9, bringing the accumulated total of deaths to 10,38  the Ministry of Health (Minsa)y  is studying the expansion of the lockdown.

In addition, 1,035 new positive cases were reported, for a cumulative total of 51,408with  1,284  hospitalized - 1,117 in wards and 167 in intensive care.

Health Minister, Luis Francisco Sucre, stressed that establishing a quarantine in Colón and Bocas del Toro, as well as in other provinces, is not ruled out, given the increase in positive cases registered in these places.

"This is not the time to visit, receive visits or have parties," said Sucre

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/lockdown-extension-considered-as-virus-deaths-soar

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As of late Sunday, July 19th, 2020 - 52,261 cases, 1,071 deaths, 27,494 recoveries. 183,261 Covid-19 tests administered to date.

minsa.jpg

Tocumen and Arraijan are jockeying for the dubious status of being the "hotspot" in Panama. The numbers keep going up.

tocumen.jpg

Alto Boquete reporting 37 cases. Bajo Boquete reporting 12 cases. We now have visibility into Los Naranjos as well, with an increase from 9 to now 12 cases.

alto boquete.jpg            bajo boquete.jpg            los naranjos.jpg

The "Chiriqui hotspot" of Nuevo Méjico/Divalá, which is just west of David, reporting 249 cases. Click Here for more information about Nuevo Méjico and Divalá.

divala.jpg            nuevo mexico.jpg

https://geosocial.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/2c6e932c690d467b85375af52b614472

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Panama forecast to reach 200,000 virus cases by year end

testsj.jpeg

Posted 19/07/2020

Panama could register 200,000 COVID-19 cases  with 3,500 deaths  by year-end if the current out-of-control trend continues

The projection comes from the Institute of Health Measurement and Evaluation of the University of Washington, in the US and is echoed by the former representative of the World Health Organization and specialist in Public Health, Jorge Luis Prosperi, who is a member of the government’s considers that the system's attention capacity, both for outpatient care and hospitalization and intensive care will overflow.

Prosperi stressed that the 51,408 confirmed cases until last Friday represent 1.2% of the national population. "These figures show that the epidemic in the country is out of control," he said. On Saturday  the total of infections had reached 52,261.

Evaluated by region, the Ministry of Health statistics show that there are some provinces with a higher infection rate. than others. For example, Panama has 1.83% of its population infected; Panama Oeste follows, with 1.44%, and Darién, with 1.64%. .

For Prosperi, the increase in cases is directly related to citizen behavior, which persists in not complying with the indicated measures to prevent contagion. As a result, there are 1.203.93 cases accumulated per 100,000 inhabitants.

“It is clear that the death rate is directly related to the increase in the number of cases. But, although the case-fatality rate remains around 2%, we increase to 24.31 deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants [eighth place among the countries of the Americas], which is serious and forces us to thoroughly analyze the causes of the high number of deaths ”, he said.

For this, it recommended identifying and correcting, if any, the shortcomings in the treatment received by patients, from hotel-hospitals, hospital wards, and intensive care units, since at those points something negative could be happening, and the authorities are obliged to discover and resolve it.

“Despite this bleak picture, I still think we are still in time to curb the escalation of cases and deaths as long as we stay focused and each one does his part responsibly. The health sector must redouble its effort to reach 4,000 tests a day and join the organized community in the interventions, to detect, isolate, and track, "he concluded.

Among medical professionals on the front line there are differing positions on how to reduce infection rates.

The Panamanian Society of Internal Medicine has recommended a total and mandatory quarantine in the provinces of Panama, Panama West, and Chiriquí for at least 15 days.

Internal physicians are currently caring for the majority of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in wards The president of the union, Nuvia Batista, says  they do not agree with the Government's decision to establish quarantine only Saturday and Sunday.

"We hope that the government will make the decisions that cannot be postponed to alleviate the crisis," she said.

Domingo Moreno, coordinator of the National Medical Negotiating Commission (Comenenal), considers that more than a total quarantine, the action should be focused. and applied, but only in communities and townships where the greatest number of cases occur.

Health should be the priority, but he also recalled that there is an economic component that must be evaluated before adopting any measure of isolation or restriction on mobility.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/panama-forecast-to-reach-200000-virus-cases-by-year-end

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Lockdown ineffective  without  contagion  strategy

chamber.jpg

The Chambert of Commeerce

Posted 19/07/2020

Another generalized quarantine will be ineffective without a strategy to break the chain of contagion and quickly reduce the number of cases that require hospitalization according to Panama’s  Chamber of Commerce (CCIAP).

According to the business union, within the efforts initially made to contain the pandemic, a vision was needed to anticipate a reopening process that would  not lead to an increase in cases and an element of preventive care to control any  increase in combination with the expansion of the

" COVID-19 is a situation that transcends all spheres, and if we do not manage to face the health aspect, the rest succumbs. There are no magic formulas, but the experiences reviewed indicate that it requires hard, joint and transparent work " said Jean-Pierre Leignadier, president of the Chamber.

He said the Cciap seeks to support the efforts made by health authorities to adapt and expand the capacity of the health system, by joining different actors in society to activate early care initiatives in the areas of greater contagion with the aim of easing hospital occupation and reducing the risk of persistent saturation of the system.

" Without a doubt, the current situation is one in which the community, employers, workers, society in general must add and provide solutions, executing actions in a planned and transparent manner. There will always be measures that will have to be adjusted in the face of inevitable human errors, but the north must be to anticipate the disease and prevent more people from reaching hospitals.”

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/lockdown-ineffective-without-contagion-strategy

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Moderator comment: Below is an email received from the US Embassy in Panama City concerning humanitarian flights.

Quote
-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Message for U.S. Citizens: U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 20, 2020)
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2020 10:01:52 -0400
From: panama-acs@state.gov
Reply-To: panama-acs@state.gov
 

Seal with blue background

 

Message for U.S. Citizens:  U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 20, 2020)  

   

Location: Panama  

   

Event: Planned Commercial Humanitarian Flights  

  

The Embassy has identified three upcoming humanitarian flights with seats available.  Any traveler with the appropriate passport/visa to permit entry into the United States is eligible to purchase a ticket.  Travelers should carefully plan their onward travel as hotel options may be limited.  Once in the United States, all domestic travel arrangements are the sole responsibility of the traveler.  

  

The upcoming humanitarian flights are: 

  

  • July 22 Copa Airlines flight CM4980 to Dulles, VA, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 9:00 a.m.  

  • July 24 United Airlines flight UA3367 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m.  

  • July 29 Copa Airlines flight CM4978 to Dulles, VA, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 9:00 a.m.  

 

For additional information about these flights and to make reservations, visit the respective websites of the airlines, Copa, and United.  Flights that appear to be sold out may have openings due to cancellations.  Continue checking directly with the airlines for any openings.   

     

The Embassy encourages interested U.S. citizens and legal residents to purchase early and forward your purchase confirmation email to the Embassy immediately at PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov so that we can assist you with the issuance of salvoconducto passes.  You may also email this address if you are unable to make the currently scheduled flights but would like to be informed about the next humanitarian flight.  Please be aware that future flights are not guaranteed, and those who choose not to depart on these flights should prepare to remain in Panama indefinitely.   

   

Consult the Embassy’s website (https://pa.usembassy.gov/) for additional information on the situation in Panama and the Department of State’s COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.  

  

Assistance:     

   

U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama   

Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue   

Clayton, Panama   

+507 317-5000   

   

State Department – Consular Affairs   

+1 (888)407-4747 or +1 (202)501-4444    

   

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.    

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

 

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Moderator comment: Below is an email received from the US Embassy in Panama City.

Quote
-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 20, 2020)
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2020 10:01:48 -0400
From: panama-acs@state.gov
Reply-To: panama-acs@state.gov
 

Seal with blue background

 

Health Alert:  U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 20, 2020)   

     

Event:  COVID-19 Situation Report and Reminders  

  

On July 19, Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) confirmed 53,468 cases of COVID-19.  

  

On July 17, the Government of Panama extended the suspension of international commercial passenger and domestic charter flights, originally announced on March 26, for an additional 30 days beginning July 22.  The previous exceptions for cargo, humanitarian, medical supplies, medical evacuation, and vaccines remain in place. 

 

Beginning July 20 in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste, private sector employees are required to enter their places of employment by no later than 8:00am. Public sector employees are required to enter by no later than 9:00am.   

  

Effective July 17, MINSA established new quarantine hours for the Panama and Panama Oeste provinces.  Total quarantine begins on Friday at 7:00pm and ends on Monday at 5:00am.  There is also a curfew from 7:00pm until 5:00am Monday through Thursday.  Movement in these provinces remains restricted based on gender and ID number.  Gender restrictions allow for movements as follows: 

  

  • Women:  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday  
  • Men:  Tuesday and Thursday.  

 

These movement restrictions allow for a two-hour window, intended only for essential purchases, based on the last digit of each individual’s cedula number or passport number if an individual is not a citizen of Panama.  U.S. Citizens in Panama should always carry their passports, and their Panamanian cedula if they have one.  The two-hour windows are as follows:  

 

  • Last number is 7 – 6:30 – 8:30am  
  • Last number is 8 – 7:30 – 9:30am  
  • Last number is 9 – 8:30 – 10:30am  
  • Last number is 0 – 9:30 – 11:30am  
  • Last number is 1 – 12:30 – 2:30pm  
  • Last number is 2 – 1:30 – 3:30pm  
  • Last number is 3 – 2:30 – 4:30pm  
  • Last number is 4 – 3:30 – 5:30pm  
  • Last number is 5 – 4:30 – 6:30pm  
  • Last number is 6 – 5:30 – 7:00pm  
  • There is a special window for those over 60 years old, regardless of cedula or passport numbers, between 7:00am and 10:00am (gender restrictions still apply).  
  • Normal exceptions apply for holders of permission letters (salvoconductos).   
  • Parents may take one child per family outside near their home or in the social areas of their apartment building during the two-hour window of the accompanying parent.  
  • Exercises such as bicycling, running, and skating are permissible if done within one kilometer of your home, with a mask, and inside your two-hour window.  

 

For all other provinces, the quarantine and two-hour movement windows were replaced by a curfew from 7 pm to 5 am, Monday through Sunday.  Children are also free to move about from 4 pm to 7 pm, accompanied by a parent, guardian, or caretaker.  The use of masks and social distancing are still required.  This new flexibility does not permit social group activities, cultural events, festivals, visits to the beach, contact sports, or any other activity that violates social distancing.  The Government of Panama still maintains security checkpoints on the roads and prohibits most interprovincial travel.    

   

MINSA reminds citizens and residents of Panama that staying at home, not touching your face, and washing your hands frequently are the best means of prevention against COVID-19.  It also requires the use of masks, even homemade ones, when in public.   

   

The Embassy encourages everyone to prepare accordingly.  Take the opportunity to stock up on any medicines and food supplies you may need to shelter in place in your homes for an extended period of time. 

   

On July 8, MINSA announced that Green Frog brand alcohol gel has been pulled from the market due to the content of toxic methanol.  To report the sale or distribution of this product, call 512-9163 or 512-9170.  

  

Effective June 8, Panama’s National Immigration Service opened and started a 90-day period during which foreigners may submit applications to maintain or adjust their immigration status in Panama without incurring fines.  This applies to applicants whose immigration status expired between March 13 and June 7.  For more details see www.migración.gob.pa.  

   

On June 2, 2020, MINSA published a resolution stating that anyone leaving their residence must be wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth.  Any individual not wearing a mask is subject to possible detention and fine.  

   

On June 1, the Government of Panama opened the second economic block.  For more details about the Government of Panama’s plan to gradually reopen the economy, and the economic sectors opened in each block, see the infographic in this tweet from MINSA, also available with English translations on the Embassy’s COVID-19 Information page.  The Government of Panama will evaluate every two weeks, but the date for opening additional business blocks remains unknown.  

   

On March 19, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice.  

  

The Embassy is working on evacuation options via commercial humanitarian flights for those U.S. Citizens wishing to depart Panama.  Please express your interest in consideration for potential evacuation flights by emailing:  PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov.  U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  

   

On March 17, U.S. Embassy Panama suspended routine consular services.  For emergency American Citizens Services, including emergency passports, please email panama-acs@state.gov. For emergency visa services, email panama-visas@state.gov.   

  

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of U.S. personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.  

   

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak the Peace Corps has reduced/evacuated all Volunteers from Panama.  

   

Schools and universities are closed nation-wide.  Sporting events, festivals, and all gatherings larger than 50 people have been banned.  Visit the local government COVID-19 website for updated information.  

    

U.S. government personnel are restricted from non-essential domestic and international travel.  

  

Visit the embassy’s COVID-19 Information page for more information about the conditions in Panama.  For the most up-to-date information about new measures, see MINSA's website (Spanish).  

 

Actions to Take: 

  

 

Assistance:  

 

U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama  

Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue  

Clayton, Panama  

+507 317-5000  

Panama-ACS@state.gov   

https://pa.usembassy.gov/   

 

State Department – Consular Affairs  

+1 (888)407-4747 or +1 (202)501-4444  

   

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.  

   

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

 

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As of late Monday, July 20th, 2020 - 53,468 cases, 1,096 deaths, 28,482 recoveries. 187,041 Covid-19 tests administered to date.

minsa.jpg

Tocumen and Arraijan are jockeying for the dubious status of being the "hotspot" in Panama. The numbers keep going up.

tocumen.jpg

Alto Boquete reporting 37 confirmed cases. Bajo Boquete and Los Naranjos both reporting 12 cases.

alto boquete.jpg            bajo boquete.jpg             los naranjos.jpg

The "Chiriqui hotspot" of Nuevo Méjico/Divalá, which is just west of David, reporting 249 cases. Click Here for more information about Nuevo Méjico and Divalá.

divala.jpg             nuevo mexico.jpg

https://geosocial.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/2c6e932c690d467b85375af52b614472

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Alcaldes de Boquete y Dolega piden cuarentena absoluta de 15 por casos de COVID-19

image.png

Jaime Saldaña

Los alcaldes de Boquete y Dolega, Joswar Alvarado y Magín Moreno piden al Gobierno Nacional decretar cuarentena absoluta de 15 por casos de COVID-19.

 

Moderator comment: Below is an unedited automated translation of the above news article.

Quote

Mayors of Boquete and Dolega request absolute quarantine of 15 for COVID-19 cases

<<image.png>>

Jaime Saldaña • Jul 20, 2020 - 09:24 PM

The mayors of Boquete and Dolega, Joswar Alvarado and Magín Moreno ask the National Government to decree an absolute quarantine of 15 for COVID-19 cases.

 

https://www.telemetro.com/nacionales/2020/07/21/alcaldes-de-boquete-y-dolega-piden-cuarentena-absoluta-de-15-por-casos-de-covid-19/3062525.html

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Moderator comment: Below is an email received from the US Embassy in Panama City concerning humanitarian flights.

Quote
------ Original Message ------
To:
Sent: 7/21/2020 2:32:13 PM
Subject: Message for U.S. Citizens: U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 21, 2020)
 

Seal with blue background

 

Message for U.S. Citizens:  U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 21, 2020)  

   

Location: Panama  

   

Event: Planned Commercial Humanitarian Flights  

  

The Embassy has identified a newly approved humanitarian flight to the United States.  Currently, there are three upcoming humanitarian flights with seats available.  Any traveler with the appropriate passport/visa to permit entry into the United States is eligible to purchase a ticket.  Travelers should carefully plan their onward travel as hotel options may be limited.  Once in the United States, all domestic travel arrangements are the sole responsibility of the traveler.  

  

The upcoming humanitarian flights are: 

  • July 22 Copa Airlines flight CM4980 to Dulles, VA, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 9:00 a.m.  
  • July 24 United Airlines flight UA1033 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m.  
  • July 29 Copa Airlines flight CM4978 to Dulles, VA, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 9:00 a.m.  
  • July 31 United Airlines flight UA1033 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m. 

 

For additional information about these flights and to make reservations, visit the respective websites of the airlines, Copa and United.  Flights that appear to be sold out may have openings due to cancellations.  Continue checking directly with the airlines for any openings.   

     

The Embassy encourages interested U.S. citizens and legal residents to purchase early and forward your purchase confirmation email to the Embassy immediately at PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov so that we can assist you with the issuance of salvoconducto passes.  You may also email this address if you are unable to make the currently scheduled flights but would like to be informed about the next humanitarian flight.  Please be aware that future flights are not guaranteed, and those who choose not to depart on these flights should prepare to remain in Panama indefinitely.   

   

Consult the Embassy’s website (https://pa.usembassy.gov/) for additional information on the situation in Panama and the Department of State’s COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.  

  

Assistance:     

   

U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama   

Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue   

Clayton, Panama   

+507 317-5000   

   

State Department – Consular Affairs   

+1 (888)407-4747 or +1 (202)501-4444    

   

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.    

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

 

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The latest bulletin from the Ministry of Health displays some motion, a nice change from the frozen posture of the past.

News items of greatest interest to me:

1) Starting tomorrow, July 22, hydroxylcholroquine may be prescribed, at the discretion of the treating doctor. (Comment: nice to see some news about therapies and treatment, rather than total focus on transmission and contagion).

2) Due to an increase in the Rt transmission measure in the provinces of Colon, Chiriqui, and Bocas del Toro, curfew will be enforced in those provinces: starts at 7pm Monday through Friday and is total curfew over the weekend, starting July 25.

3) The provinces of Herera, Cocle, and Los Santos are favored with a reopening of car dealerships, private construction projects and Professional & Administrative services.

Separately, Telemetro broadcast an interview with Javier Pitti, the mayor of Tierras Altas (Volcan), in which he announced his intention to use drones as a surveillance method in fighting the "deadly" Covid-19 virus.

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As of late Tuesday, July 21st, 2020 - 54,426 cases, 1,127 deaths, 29,164 recoveries. 189,941 Covid-19 tests administered to date.

minsa.jpg

Tocumen and Arraijan are jockeying for the dubious status of being the "hotspot" in Panama. The numbers keep going up.tocumen.jpg

Alto Boquete reporting 38 cases, Bajo Boquete reporting 12, and Los Naranjos reporting 13 cases.

alto boquete.jpg            bajo boquete.jpg              los naranjos.jpg

The "Chiriqui hotspot" of Nuevo Méjico/Divalá, which is just west of David, reporting 249 cases. Click Here for more information about Nuevo Méjico and Divalá.

divala.jpg             nuevo mexico.jpg

https://geosocial.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/2c6e932c690d467b85375af52b614472

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Shopping Centers Prepare for the New Reality

Encouraging online sales so that customers can pick up products without getting out of their vehicles is the commitment of some Panamanian shopping centers to comply with the safety protocols that will be required in this new commercial reality.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Due to the threat of the spread of covid-19, since mid-March, Panamanian authorities decided to close the shopping centers. Given the possibility that in the coming ones these businesses will be allowed to operate, the managers have begun to prepare themselves to adapt to the new reality.

You may be interested in "Shopping Centers: New Normal, New Strategies"

Jaravy Rosales, marketing manager of Grupo Roble, explained to Elcapitalfinanciero.com that in the case of the Multiplaza and Metromall shopping centers, they are preparing to fully comply with the prevention measures.

The manager said that "... with the new option of online sales will be able to purchase products through the websites of both shopping centers, schedule delivery time and pick up without having to get out of the car, because for this they will establish safe areas with thorough cleaning measures for the tranquility of each of the users."

See "The Age of Virtual Shopping Malls Begins"

Rosales added that "... through this service the stores will offer an efficient and secure online and delivery showcase to their customers. Having the possibility to go personally to pick up your purchases from a safe place is the objective of our service opening new possibilities, this in order to adapt to the situation and always innovate."

https://www.centralamericadata.com/en/article/main/Shopping_Centers_Prepare_for_the_New_Reality

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Moderator comment: Below is an email received from the US Embassy in Panama City concerning humanitarian flights.

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------ Original Message ------
To:
Sent: 7/22/2020 8:30:31 AM
Subject: Message for U.S. Citizens: U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 22, 2020)
 

Seal with blue background

 

Message for U.S. Citizens:  U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 22, 2020)  

   

Location: Panama  

   

Event: Planned Commercial Humanitarian Flights  

  

The Embassy has identified three upcoming humanitarian flights with seats available.  Any traveler with the appropriate passport/visa to permit entry into the United States is eligible to purchase a ticket.  Travelers should carefully plan their onward travel as hotel options may be limited.  Once in the United States, all domestic travel arrangements are the sole responsibility of the traveler.  

  

The upcoming humanitarian flights are: 

  • July 24 United Airlines flight UA1033 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m.  
  • July 29 Copa Airlines flight CM4978 to Dulles, VA, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 9:00 a.m.  
  • July 31 United Airlines flight UA1033 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m. 

 

For additional information about these flights and to make reservations, visit the respective websites of the airlines, Copa and United.  Flights that appear to be sold out may have openings due to cancellations.  Continue checking directly with the airlines for any openings.   

     

The Embassy encourages interested U.S. citizens and legal residents to purchase early and forward your purchase confirmation email to the Embassy immediately at PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov so that we can assist you with the issuance of salvoconducto passes.  You may also email this address if you are unable to make the currently scheduled flights but would like to be informed about the next humanitarian flight.  Please be aware that future flights are not guaranteed, and those who choose not to depart on these flights should prepare to remain in Panama indefinitely.   

   

Consult the Embassy’s website (https://pa.usembassy.gov/) for additional information on the situation in Panama and the Department of State’s COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.  

  

Assistance:     

   

U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama   

Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue   

Clayton, Panama   

+507 317-5000   

   

State Department – Consular Affairs   

+1 (888)407-4747 or +1 (202)501-4444    

   

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.    

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

 

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Moderator comment: Below is an email received from the US Embassy in Panama City.

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------ Original Message ------
To:
Sent: 7/22/2020 8:30:31 AM
Subject: Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 22, 2020)
 

Seal with blue background

 

Health Alert:  U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 22, 2020)   

     

Event:  COVID-19 Situation Report and Reminders  

  

On July 21, Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) confirmed 55,153 cases of COVID-19.  

  

On July 21, the Government of Panama announced total quarantine in the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Colon, and Chiriqui on Saturdays and Sundays.  The curfew from Monday through Friday remains from 7pm until 5am.  

  

Beginning Monday, July 27, businesses in Los Santos, Herrera, and Cocle provinces will be allowed to open businesses of car sales, private construction, and professional and administrative services.  All businesses must meet biosecurity requirements. 

 

Effective July 17, MINSA established new quarantine hours for the Panama and Panama Oeste provinces.  Total quarantine begins on Friday at 7:00pm and ends on Monday at 5:00am.  There is also a curfew from 7:00pm until 5:00am Monday through Thursday.  Movement in these provinces remains restricted based on gender and ID number.  Gender restrictions allow for movements as follows: 

  

  • Women:  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday  
  • Men:  Tuesday and Thursday.  

 

These movement restrictions allow for a two-hour window, intended only for essential purchases, based on the last digit of each individual’s cedula number or passport number if an individual is not a citizen of Panama.  U.S. Citizens in Panama should always carry their passports, and their Panamanian cedula if they have one.  The two-hour windows are as follows:  

 

  • Last number is 7 – 6:30 – 8:30am  
  • Last number is 8 – 7:30 – 9:30am  
  • Last number is 9 – 8:30 – 10:30am  
  • Last number is 0 – 9:30 – 11:30am  
  • Last number is 1 – 12:30 – 2:30pm  
  • Last number is 2 – 1:30 – 3:30pm  
  • Last number is 3 – 2:30 – 4:30pm  
  • Last number is 4 – 3:30 – 5:30pm  
  • Last number is 5 – 4:30 – 6:30pm  
  • Last number is 6 – 5:30 – 7:00pm  
  • There is a special window for those over 60 years old, regardless of cedula or passport numbers, between 7:00am and 10:00am (gender restrictions still apply).  
  • Normal exceptions apply for holders of permission letters (salvoconductos).   
  • Parents may take one child per family outside near their home or in the social areas of their apartment building during the two-hour window of the accompanying parent.  
  • Exercises such as bicycling, running, and skating are permissible if done within one kilometer of your home, with a mask, and inside your two-hour window.  
  • Private sector employees are required to enter their places of employment by no later than 8:00am.  Public sector employees are required to enter by no later than 9:00am.   

 

All other provinces have a curfew from 7 pm to 5 am, Monday through Sunday.  Children are also free to move about from 4 pm to 7 pm, accompanied by a parent, guardian, or caretaker.  The use of masks and social distancing are still required.  This new flexibility does not permit social group activities, cultural events, festivals, visits to the beach, contact sports, or any other activity that violates social distancing.  The Government of Panama still maintains security checkpoints on the roads and prohibits most interprovincial travel.    

   

MINSA reminds citizens and residents of Panama that staying at home, not touching your face, and washing your hands frequently are the best means of prevention against COVID-19.  It also requires the use of masks, even homemade ones, when in public.   

   

The Embassy encourages everyone to prepare accordingly.  Take the opportunity to stock up on any medicines and food supplies you may need to shelter in place in your homes for an extended period of time. 

   

On July 17, the Government of Panama extended the suspension of international commercial passenger and domestic charter flights, originally announced on March 26, for an additional 30 days beginning July 22.  The previous exceptions for cargo, humanitarian, medical supplies, medical evacuation, and vaccines remain in place. 

 

On July 8, MINSA announced that Green Frog brand alcohol gel has been pulled from the market due to the content of toxic methanol.  To report the sale or distribution of this product, call 512-9163 or 512-9170.  

  

Effective June 8, Panama’s National Immigration Service opened and started a 90-day period during which foreigners may submit applications to maintain or adjust their immigration status in Panama without incurring fines.  This applies to applicants whose immigration status expired between March 13 and June 7.  For more details see www.migración.gob.pa.  

   

On June 2, 2020, MINSA published a resolution stating that anyone leaving their residence must be wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth.  Any individual not wearing a mask is subject to possible detention and fine.  

   

On June 1, the Government of Panama opened the second economic block.  For more details about the Government of Panama’s plan to gradually reopen the economy, and the economic sectors opened in each block, see the infographic in this tweet from MINSA, also available with English translations on the Embassy’s COVID-19 Information page.  The Government of Panama will evaluate every two weeks, but the date for opening additional business blocks remains unknown.  

   

On March 19, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice.  

  

The Embassy is working on evacuation options via commercial humanitarian flights for those U.S. Citizens wishing to depart Panama.  Please express your interest in consideration for potential evacuation flights by emailing:  PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov.  U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  

   

On March 17, U.S. Embassy Panama suspended routine consular services.  For emergency American Citizens Services, including emergency passports, please email panama-acs@state.gov. For emergency visa services, email panama-visas@state.gov.   

  

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of U.S. personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.  

   

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak the Peace Corps has reduced/evacuated all Volunteers from Panama.  

   

Schools and universities are closed nation-wide.  Sporting events, festivals, and all gatherings larger than 50 people have been banned.  Visit the local government COVID-19 website for updated information.  

    

U.S. government personnel are restricted from non-essential domestic and international travel.  

  

Visit the embassy’s COVID-19 Information page for more information about the conditions in Panama.  For the most up-to-date information about new measures, see MINSA's website (Spanish).  

 

Actions to Take: 

  

 

Assistance:  

 

U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama  

Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue  

Clayton, Panama  

+507 317-5000  

Panama-ACS@state.gov   

https://pa.usembassy.gov/   

 

State Department – Consular Affairs  

+1 (888)407-4747 or +1 (202)501-4444  

   

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.  

   

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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As of late Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 - 55,163 cases, 1,159 deaths, 30,075 recoveries. 192,085 Covid-19 tests administered to date.

minsa.jpg

Tocumen and Arraijan are jockeying for the dubious status of being the "hotspot" in Panama. The numbers keep going up.tocumen.jpg

Alto Boquete reporting 38 cases, Bajo Boquete reporting 13 (an increase by 1), and Los Naranjos reporting 13 cases.

alto boquete.jpg            bajo boquete.jpg            los naranjos.jpg

The "Chiriqui hotspot" of Nuevo Méjico/Divalá, which is just west of David, reporting 249 cases. Click Here for more information about Nuevo Méjico and Divalá.

divala.jpg            nuevo mexico.jpg

https://geosocial.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/2c6e932c690d467b85375af52b614472

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Virus kills 10 Panama doctors

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Posted 22/07/2020

At least 10 Ten doctors have died from COVID-19 in Panama until Wednesday, July 22. including three pediatricians.

Former Health Minister Miguel Mayo warned that the loss of valuable doctors will further exacerbate the challenges due to lack of personnel in the Panamanian health system which is desperately searching for doctors and nurses as the number of active cases and hospitalizations continues to surge

Doctors are among the groups most exposed to the  and  are demanding  the necessary protective equipment, and  calling on the population to follow the sanitary recommendations to avoid further infections

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/virus-kills-10-panama-doctors

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Medics  protest  missing health supplies,  bed shortage, late pay

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Posted 22/07/2020

Medical personnel from the San Miguel Arcángel hospital were on the streets again on  Wednesday, July 22, to demand responses to a series of requests that they made to health authorities.

Resident and internal doctors  said they require equipment and supplies to work

During the peaceful demonstration, said that they are in the first line of care for patients affected by the killer Covid-19  virus, are “forgotten."

They claim they lack the medical supplies to deal with this health crisis, that they do not have enough personnel assigned to them in hospitals and, have not received their financial remuneration on time.

Protesters said they must buy their own PPE supplies to care for patients and warned that the hospital is overloaded and there are not enough beds.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/medics-protest-missing-health-supplies-bed-shortage-late-pay-1

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Panama covid death rate third on continent

covid-bodies.jpg

Posted 22/07/2020

With 32 deaths in 24 hours, the COVID-19 fatal victims total,  reached,1,159  on Tuesday, July 21 but while the fatality rate of the country is 2.1%, placing Panama as the third nation in the Americas with the lowest death rate from the disease.

There are currently 23,919 patients of which, 1,320 are hospitalized, 1,156 are in wards and 164 are in intensive care.

192,085 tests have been carried out (58,039 positive and 134,046 negative). This Tuesday, 2,144 samples were applied.

I srael Cedeño, director of the Metropolitan Health Region, reported that the Rt or real transmission rate of the virus has shown a drop to  1.23%.

The upward curve of hospitalized and intensive care patients continues

“For every 100, 80% can handle themselves quite safely at home, 20% require hospitalization and 5% must go to intensive care," said Social Security director, Enrique Lau Cortés.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/panama-covid-death-rate-third-on-continent

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