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

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COVID-19 Information
Last updated: 01/27/21

***  Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.  Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

Waivers to the testing requirement may be granted by the CDC on an extremely limited basis when extraordinary emergency travel (like an emergency medical evacuation) must occur to preserve someone’s health and safety, and testing cannot be completed before travel. There are no waivers available for individuals who test positive for COVID-19. Individuals – or air carriers seeking to allow boarding by potentially qualifying individuals – who believe they meet the criteria for a waiver should contact the U.S. Embassy at panama-acs@state.gov, and provide the information below. The U.S. Embassy will then submit the request to the CDC for consideration.

The following information must be provided for each passenger:

a.  Name (family name/surname, given name), passport number and country
b.  Cell phone number including country code of passenger or head of household if family unit
c.  Email address of passenger or head of household if family unit
d.  U.S. destination address
i.   Is U.S. destination home address?
e.  Departure date
f.   Flight itinerary
g.  Name of submitting entity if different from passenger
h.  Name of company submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
i.   Name of point of contact submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
j.   Phone and email address for POC submitting waiver request on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
k.  Purpose of travel to the U.S. (provide brief explanation of why urgent travel is needed and how travel will contribute to health and safety of passengers(s))
l.  Justification for testing waiver (e.g. no testing available, impact on health and safety)
m.  Documentation to support justification for test waiver, if available (e.g. medical records or orders for medical evacuation)


Country-Specific Information:

  • On January 12, the Government of Panama announced new regional and nationwide restrictions. See below for details.
  • On January 26, 2021, the Panamanian Ministry of Health confirmed 313,834 total cases of COVID-19 in Panama.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 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.
  • On October 12 Panama resumed commercial aviation.  See the Entry and Exit Requirements section for more details.
  • On January 12, the Government of Panama announced a gradual reopening plan that is subject to change depending on health conditions. The following remain pending and do not have a foreseen date for reopening: schools, colleges, universities, indoor play areas for children, bars, clubs, conferences, concerts, fairs, carnival, parades, and processions. See the Business Operations section below for more details. 
  • 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 across the country. These restrictions vary by province. Please scroll down on this page to the section 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).
  • MINSA called on the entire population, especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood. Contact a local hospital or blood donation center if you’re interested and willing to participate.
  • Schools and universities are closed for in-person classes nation-wide through at least the first trimester of the 2021 school year. 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.

COVID-19 Testing

  • Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in Panama? Yes
  • If so, are test results reliably available within 72 hours? Yes 

Testing is available at the following locations:

  • Tocumen International Airport (only for international arrivals), cost: $50.
  • Hospital Nacional, cost: $157.50. Contact 306-3300, WhatsApp 6949-6124.
  • Hospital Punta Pacifica, cost: $95.00. If you want this done inside your car, you visit the Punta Pacifica drive-through testing center. Appointments are made at in the following link: https://www.pacificasalud.com/expresscovid. Results take 24 to 48 hours.
  • Lab Center is offering home services. Appointments are made through WhatsApp at 6285-7181 and they have three modalities of testing, costs: $375 for a result in 1 to 2 hours, $250 for a result in 6 to 8 hours, $150 for results in 24 to 48 hours.
  • Panama Clinic, cost $99.00. Contact 310-1111


COVID-19 Vaccine Information:


Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? Yes
  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or antigen) required for entry? Yes
  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes

On October 12, the Government of Panama permitted international commercial flights to resume services to and from Panama.

Entry Requirements:

  • The Government of Panama requires a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or Antigen) within 48 hours prior to traveling to Panama.
  • If you do not have a test, or the test was done more than 48 hours before traveling to Panama, you will be required to take a test at the airport at your expense ($50.00).
  • If you test positive, you will be required to quarantine at a designated hotel.  After seven days you will be tested again; if you test negative you will be allowed to leave; otherwise, you must remain in quarantine for 14 days or until you test negative.
  • Each individual entering Panama must complete and sign an electronic sworn affidavit prior to check-in.
  • See the Ministry of Tourism webpage for more information about current entry requirements.
  • As of March 13, all cruise ship passengers are banned from disembarking in Panama.

Exit Requirements:

  • Upon entering the airport, your temperature will be taken.
  • A Covid-19 test is not required to exit Panama; however, some countries require the test to enter their territory. 
  • Any U.S. citizen in Panama seeking guidance to return to the United States should send an email to PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov

 


Movement Restrictions:

  • Is a curfew in place? Yes
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes

Movement Restrictions:

On January 12, the Government of Panama announced updated regional and national COVID-19 restrictions beginning January 14.

Starting January 14, a nationwide curfew is in effect Monday through Friday from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.  Additional movement and business restrictions vary by region.

Panama and Panama Oeste:  Starting January 14, movement restrictions based on passport or cedula number are eliminated.  However, gender restrictions for shopping remain in place (Men:  Tuesdays and Thursdays; Women: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays).  Weekends are full lockdown, from Fridays at 9 p.m. until Monday at 4 a.m.  Work-related gatherings are limited to 25 people or 25% capacity.  For a list of permitted activities, see slides six and seven of the Ministry of Health’s informational presentation here.

Cocle, Veraguas, and Los Santos:  Beginning January 15, weekends are full lockdown, from Fridays at 9 p.m. until Monday at 4 a.m.  Businesses will remain open until 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with no gender restrictions.

Herrera:  Starting February 1, week-day movement restrictions are lifted; however, shopping remains restricted by gender (Men:  Tuesdays and Thursdays; Women:  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays).   Weekends are full lockdown, from Fridays at 9 p.m. until Monday at 4 a.m.

Normal exceptions apply for holders of permission letters (salvoconductos).  The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens in Panama that it is always obligatory to comply with local laws.

Government construction projects related to responding to the pandemic are exempted from curfew hours.

Movement restrictions at the provincial and municipal level are subject to change.  U.S. citizens are advised to follow local media outlets and government sources for the latest updates, and reminded that they are subject to Panamanian laws and guidelines.

Business Operations:

On January 12, the Government of Panama announced a gradual reopening plan that is subject to change depending on health conditions:

  • February 1:  retail, beauty parlors, barber shops, daycare centers
  • February 15:  carwashes, tailor shops, shoe repair shops, non-essential industries, cultural industries, restaurants
  • March 1:  gyms, spas, lotteries, fishing, race tracks
  • March 15:  beaches, movie theaters and casinos.

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:

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? No
  • International arrivals who test positive at Tocumen will be required to quarantine at a designated hotel.  After seven days you will be tested again; if you test negative you will be allowed to leave; otherwise, you must remain in quarantine for 14 days or until you test negative.
  • 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 be quarantined 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

Transportation Options:

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

Masks are required any time you leave your home, including when using public transportation.

  • Public Transportation is operating.  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. 
  • Non-essential transportation, such as tourism transportation, is also permitted as of October 12. 
  • Due to the resumption of international aviation on October 12, we will no longer send messages to citizens about upcoming humanitarian flights.  If you still wish to evacuate Panama and return to the United States, you should do so by booking a commercial flight through the airline of your choice.  

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 is still reduced due to pandemic precautions, and there will be a limited number of interviews scheduled per week. Please go to our website, https://pa.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/, to schedule your appointment.
  • 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

  • As of September 17, the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Panama is able to process certain immigrant and non-immigrant visa services.  If you have an emergency need for a visa, or you are requesting an H1B, H2B, H4, L, or certain J visa categories covered by Presidential Proclamation 10052, email Panama-Visas@state.gov and explain your emergency or why you should qualify for an exemption to the current suspension of services.
  • We are currently scheduling appointments for the following types of non-immigrant visas: students, crew-members, journalists, people with extraordinary abilities, artists, athletes, investors, diplomatic, and work visas.  B1/B2 visa holders can also renew their visas by mail if they meet the requirements.  Complete your application, pay for, and schedule your appointment at www.ustraveldocs.com/pa
  • We are also scheduling immigrant visa interviews for spouses, fiancés of U.S. citizens, and diversity visa applicants.  Please contact Panama-IVisas@state.gov if you have questions or need assistance.

 


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).

Other links: