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COVID-19 Panama Information

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52 MINUTE READ
September 22, 2022

Last updated: 09/22/2022

  •  Effective Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. EDT, the CDC rescinded its Order requiring all airline or other aircraft passengers to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 to board any aircraft destined for travel to the United States from a foreign country. CDC’s Order requiring proof of vaccination for non-U.S. citizen nonimmigrants to travel to the United States is still in effect. 
  • Effective November 8, all non-U.S. citizens, nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) airline passengers traveling to the United States, must demonstrate proof of vaccination as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Order prior to boarding a U.S.-bound aircraft.  For more information see Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers. More details regarding what constitutes full vaccination are available on this page of the CDC website.

 

Country-Specific Information

  • On September 10, 2022, the Panamanian Ministry of Health confirmed 984,234 total cases of COVID-19 in Panama.
  • Effective July 11, 2022, the mandatory use of masks covering nose and mouth is lifted for both indoor and outdoor spaces, with the exception of health care facilities, public transportation, and food industry staff manipulating and serving food.
  • Additionally, effective March 28, 2022, the mandatory use of facial screens on public transportation throughout Panama is also lifted.
  • 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 3 Travel Advisory for Panama. Read the Health Notice and Travel Advisory.
  • The Government of Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) reminds citizens and residents of Panama that not touching your face, and washing your hands frequently are the best means of prevention against COVID-19.  
  • All restaurants, stores and other commercial establishments are currently available. Some establishments may require proof of vaccination for entry.
  • The Government of Panama requires a 7-to-10 day quarantine in a government designated hotel/hospital for individuals who test positive for COVID-19.
  • U.S. citizens in Panama should be prepared to stay and quarantine 7 to 10 days if they test positive.  Individuals who require daily medication should be prepared with enough supply for at least an additional 10 days.  They may also want to pack sufficient personal hygiene supplies.

COVID-19 Testing

  • Are either PCR or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Panama? Yes
  • If so, are test results reliably available within one calendar day? Yes

Testing is available at the following locations:

  • Tocumen International Airport (for departures), antigen rapid test cost: $50 / molecular test cost: $85.
  • Hospital Nacional, Contact 306-3300, WhatsApp 6949-6124.
  • Hospital Punta Pacifica,  If you want car-side testing, visit the Punta Pacifica drive-through testing center. Appointments at the following link: https://www.pacificasalud.com/expresscovid. 
  • Lab Center is offering home services. Appointments are made through WhatsApp at 6285-7181
  • Panama Clinic, Contact 310-1111

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Information:

  • Has the Government of Panama approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use?  Yes
  • Are vaccines available in Panama for U.S. citizens to receive? Yes   
  • Which vaccines are available in Panama? Pfizer 
  • The public is encouraged to register for vaccination by the GoPhere. Registration is available for foreigners with or without residency registration numbers (numeros de filiacion). 
  • Visit the FDA’s website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States. 
  • The United States government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please see the Department of State COVID-19 Vaccine Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Please see Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Entry and Exit Requirements

All restrictions or requirements around COVID-19 have been lifted. No need to present negative test results, vaccination scheme or declaration form.

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes. 
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? No
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? No
  • Visa extensions for residents and/or tourists should be solicited directly to the Panama Immigration Service.

Exit Requirements:

  • A COVID-19 test is not required to exit Panama; however, some countries require the test to enter their territory.   Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 will need to complete a 7-to-10 day quarantine in a hotel at their expense.
  • Please be advised that the U.S. Embassy cannot intervene in the quarantine rules established by the Panamanian government, and we cannot grant exemptions to the quarantine requirement.

Movement Restrictions

  • Is a curfew in place? No
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No

Movement and business restrictions may vary by region. See the MINSA Twitter page for details.

For all the details about changes made by the Government of Panama in response to the pandemic, please see the daily announcements on the Ministry of Health’s website, Twitter or Instagram account.

Business Operations:

All restaurants, stores and other commercial establishments are currently available. Some establishments may require proof of vaccination for entry.

The Embassy encourages everyone to prepare accordingly.  Maintain adequate supplies of food and medicine and be prepared to shelter in place as directed by local authorities.

Quarantine Information

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may be required to quarantine at a MINSA-designated hotel/hospital for 7 to 10 days. The Embassy cannot insist that passengers be retested or discharged from quarantine prior to the end of the required quarantine period.
  • Families where one individual has tested positive for COVID-19 are being placed in quarantine together.  Depending on the individual’s symptoms, they may be asked to quarantine in a hospital or designated hotel.  Note that you may be personally responsible for any quarantine and testing costs.
  • Upon completion of the required quarantine, The Government of Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) will provide a release letter allowing the individuals to end their quarantine and depart Panama.
  • Note: Substandard conditions have been reported in COVID-19 designated hotels.  Access to basic linens, towels, personal hygiene products, and over the counter medications may be scarce.  As we understand it, the use of private delivery services’ mobile applications may be used for delivery of groceries, hygiene supplies such as soap and shampoo, and over the counter medications; however, you must check with the hotel/hospital staff.
  • Hotels and hospitals should have at least one English speaking staff member you can ask for to address your concerns.  The U.S. Embassy in Panama City is working with local authorities to ensure U.S. citizens have adequate accommodations during quarantine, including access to food, water, and medical supplies.  Please contact us if you need emergency assistance.

Transportation Options

  • Are commercial flights operating? Yes 
  • Is public transportation operating? Yes 

Masks are required in public transportation. Effective March 28, 2022, the mandatory use of facial screens on public transportation throughout Panama is lifted.

Public Transportation is operating normally.  For information and traveler requirements for the Metro rail system, go to https://www.elmetrodepanama.com. Information on the bus system is available at https://www.mibus.com.pa. 

Fines for Non-Compliance

  • Fines are set by the Juez de Paz in each jurisdiction and not published in any decrees. The Embassy has media reports that fines range from $100 to $1000.

Consular Operations

American Citizen Services

  • We have resumed routine American Citizen Services. Staffing remains reduced due to pandemic precautions, as a result, there are a limited number of interviews scheduled per week.
  • If you need to request an emergency service, email your request to Panama-ACS@state.gov, and be sure to explain the nature of the emergency.

Visa Services

  • Our tourist visa services remain limited due to high demand and protocols still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Consular Section is working primarily on reducing wait times for U.S. passport and permanent residency visa appointments.
  • Additionally, we have limited appointment availability for crewmembers, employment, and student visas.
  • If you already had a full-validity tourist visa issued in Panama, you may qualify to renew it without an appointment by authorized courier by following the instructions at www.ustraveldocs.com. Additionally, children under the age of 14 whose parents have valid visas, and adults over the age of 80 can also process their tourist visa applications by authorized courier. This process can take up to 16 weeks.
  • If you have an urgent need to travel to the United States and do not qualify for a visa by authorized courier, you can request an emergency appointment by following the steps at www.ustraveldocs.com. In your application you must submit evidence of the emergency.

Local Resources

  • For updates from Panama’s Ministry of Health and COVID-19 resources, 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)

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