COVID-19 Panama Information

COVID19 Panama Information

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Any U.S. citizen in Panama requesting travel assistance to return to the United States should send an email to PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov

View the U.S. Embassy in Panama’s most recent Alerts & Messages

On August 6, the Panamanian Ministry of Health announced 71,418 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Panama.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Panama due to COVID-19. The State Department has also issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Panama. Read the Health Notice and Travel Advisory.
  • 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.
  • On June 2, the Government of Panama’s Ministry of Health (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.
  • Movement restrictions are in place accross the country. These restrictions vary by province. Please scroll down on this page to the section Details of Movement Restrictions for more information.
  • MINSA is also declaring health cordons in areas that have higher incidence of infection. For more information, contact MINSA (see local resources below).
  • The nationwide dry law ended on June 22. For more information, see the official decree at https://www.gacetaoficial.gob.pa/pdfTemp/29050_A/78826.pdf. Some municipalities in the interior have passed dry laws for alcohol sale during curfew and/or quarentine. Verify with your local municipality to confirm if such laws are in place.
  • 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. Please scroll down on this page to the section Repatriation Flights for detailed flight information.
  • Effective June 8, Panama’s National Immigration Service 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.migracion.gob.pa
  • Starting on June 1, the Government of Panama opened the 2nd economic block: public construction, mining of non-metals, industry, and religious sites, parks, social areas, and sporting areas will be allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity. The Government of Panama announced a gradual plan to reopen the economy beginning May 13. For details, see the infographic in this tweet from MINSA. The dates for opening additional business blocks remains unknown.
  • Beginning Monday, July 27, businesses in Los Santos, Herrera, and Cocle provinces will be allowed to open for car sales, private construction, and professional and administrative services. All businesses must meet health and safety requirements.

  • MINSA called on the entire population, especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood. Contact a local hospital or blood donation centre if you’re interested and willing to participate.
  • 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.
  • Schools and universities are closed for in-person classes nation-wide until further notice. Sporting events, festivals, and all gatherings larger than 50 people, as well as public spaces and venues, have been banned. Visit the local government COVID-19 website for updated information.
  • Schools and universities are closed for in-person classes nation-wide until further notice. Sporting events, festivals, and all gatherings larger than 50 people, as well as public spaces and venues, 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 and must adhere to the national quarantine.

Details on Movement Restrictions:

 

The Government of Panama has announced total quarantine in the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Colon, Chiriqui Panama, and Panama Oeste from Friday at 7:00pm until Monday at 5:00am. There is also a curfew from 7:00pm until 5:00am Monday through Thursday.

Movement in the Panama and Panama Oeste provinces is also 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Government of Panama still maintains security checkpoints on the roads and prohibits most interprovincial travel.

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.
  • 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.

Possible Repatriation Flights:

 

Location: Panama     

Event: Planned Commercial Humanitarian Flights    

The Embassy has identified four 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:   

  • August 7 United Airlines flight UA2417 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m. 
  • August 10 Copa Airlines flight CM4845 to Miami, FL, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 10:10 a.m.  
  • August 14 United Airlines flight UA2417 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m. 
  • August 21 United Airlines flight UA2417 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m.

Copa Airlines also confirmed that they will offer seats on multiple flights that transit through Panama.  Please check directly with Copa for these flight itineraries and availability.   

The Embassy shares information on all confirmed humanitarian flights, but flight reservations and operations are controlled by the airlines themselves.  The Embassy is not involved in flight scheduling.  Due to the frequently-changing travel environment as a result of COVID-19, planned flights may be changed or cancelled.  In such cases, passengers should follow-up directly with the airline to rebook.  

For additional information about these flights and to make reservations, visit the respective websites of the airlines, Copa or 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.  

The Embassy is continuing its efforts to identify possible repatriation flights. 

 

Entry and Exit Requirements:

 

  • Any U.S. citizen in Panama requesting travel assistance on returning to the United States should send an email to PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov
  • As of March 13, all cruise ship passengers are banned from disembarking in Panama.
  • As of March 22, Panama suspended all international commercial flights in and out of Panama.
  • On July 17, The Government of Panama extended the suspension of international commercial passenger flights to August 22.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Panama due to COVID-19. The State Department has also issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Panama. Read the Health Notice and Travel Advisory.

Quarantine Information:

 

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) requires that ships coming from countries with a confirmed case and with a crew member exhibiting symptoms must notify the ACP at least 30 days before its arrival and of any crew changes within 14 days of arrival. In the event a crew member is a confirmed COVID-19 case, the vessel will not be permitted to transit and must quarantine for 14 days. Preventative measures for such ships include, but are not limited to:

  • Boarding of vessels by health authorities in order to investigate any cases.
  • Use of personal protective equipment, such as masks.
  • Holding the vessel in quarantine as a precautionary measure.

Local Resources:

 

  • For updates from the Republic of Panama’s Ministry of Health response and resources on COVID-19, go to (in Spanish): https://yomeinformopma.org/ 
  • Inquiries about COVID-19 can be directed to: Ministry of Health hotline in Panama (169). Department of Epidemiology Dra. Lourdes Moreno (507-9100).

Other links: