COVID-19 Panama Information

COVID19 Panama Information

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The U.S. Embassy is compiling a list of people seeking to leave Panama. Any U.S. citizen in Panama requesting travel assistance should send an email to PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov
View the U.S. Embassy in Panama’s most recent Alerts & Messages

On July 2, the Panamanian Ministry of Health announced 35,237 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Panama.

  • Effective June 22, the Government of Panama authorizes the distribution, sale, and consumption of alcohol across the nation, lifting previous purchasing limits.  Alcohol must be sold in sealed containers and is intended for home consumption only.  This change does not affect those areas that are under a health cordon.  For more information, see the official decree at https://www.gacetaoficial.gob.pa/pdfTemp/29050_A/78826.pdf.
  • The government announced that the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste will return to movement restrictions based on gender and ID number, starting on June 8. Please scroll down on this page to the section Details of Movement Restrictions.
  • 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. 
  • 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.migración.gob.pa.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Government of Panama extended the suspension of international commercial passenger flights to July 22. There are exceptions for cargo, humanitarian, medical supplies, medical evacuation, and government aircraft flights.  Any U.S. Citizens remaining in Panama should be prepared to remain indefinitely. 
  • The Embassy is continuing its efforts to identify possible repatriation flights. Please scroll down on this page to the section Repatriation Flights for detailed flight information. 
  • 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.
  • MINSA also announced on June 4 that a health cordon has been declared in the district of Chiriqui Grande, and in the communities of Pantanal and Finca 1 in Changuinola, and Solución in Bocas del Toro.
  • Schools and universities are closed 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:

 

On June 7, MINSA published a resolution regarding movement restrictions in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste.  These provinces will return to movement restrictions based on gender and ID number beginning June 8.  Gender restrictions allow for movements as follows:

  • Women:  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • Men:  Tuesday and Thursday. Saturday until 5pm

Additionally, movement will be restricted to a two-hour window 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 – 7:30pm
  • 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).
  • Weekend curfew for the month of June is from from 5:00pm on Saturday until 5:00am on Monday.
  • 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.

Hours of circulation during the total quarantine are intended only for essential purchases by one person per household.   The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens in Panama that it is always obligatory to comply with local laws.  Other provinces in Panama will continue with the curfew that began on June 1 (see details below). 

Starting June 1, the Government of Panama ended the quarantine with movement restrictions based on ID number and gender.  This change remains in effect for all provinces except Panama and Panama Oeste.  

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 will also be 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. 
  • Even with these allowances, 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 two upcoming humanitarian flights with seats available.  The flights are operated by United Airlines (flight number UA2417) and are scheduled for July 10 and 17.  There are no additional confirmed flights with available seats at this time, so if you desire to return to the United States, it is important to book immediately.  Any traveler with the appropriate passport/visa to permit entry into the United States who wishes to depart Panama is eligible to purchase a ticket.  Travelers should carefully plan their onward travel as hotel options in Houston may be limited.  Once in the United States, all domestic travel arrangements are the sole responsibility of the traveler.  

The Embassy is aware that the Government of Panama has approved in-bound flights from the United States to Panama to provide Panamanian citizens and other qualified travelers the opportunity to travel to Panama.  Questions about qualifications necessary and approval for passengers on these flights should be directed to the Embassy of Panama, in Washington, D.C.  Airlines operating these flights, such as Copa Airlines, may occasionally be able to offer seats on the out-bound flights to some passengers.  Please contact the airline offering these seats for sale directly about those flights.  The U.S. Embassy in Panama will continue announcing all flights approved by the Panamanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as humanitarian flights to the United States.  

NOTE – We encourage you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to ensure you are able to return to the United States.  U.S. citizens who choose not to depart on these flights should prepare to remain in Panama indefinitely and shelter in place.      

The currently authorized, upcoming humanitarian flights are:  

  • July 9 Spirit Airlines (SOLD OUT), departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 2:00 p.m. for Fort Lauderdale, FL, to arrive at 6:00 p.m. 
  • July 10 United Airlines, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m. for Houston, TX, to arrive at 4:39 p.m.  
  • July 17 United Airlines, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m. for Houston, TX, to arrive at 4:39 p.m. 

For additional information about these flights and to make reservations please contact the airlines directly.  These tickets will be available soon, if not already, and the Embassy encourages you to check Spirit’s and United’s websites regularly for updates.  

Flights that appear to be sold out may have openings due to cancelations.  Continue checking directly with the airlines for any openings.  

There are no guarantees for these flights or the space available.  

The Embassy encourages interested U.S. citizens and LPRs 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.  

The Embassy will continue its efforts to identify and seek approval for future humanitarian flights to the United States as long citizens indicate the desire to evacuate.    

Messages to U.S. citizens with updates on repatriation flights are sent daily to citizens living in Panama while the Embassy is assisting with approved flights from Panama to the United States.  Messages providing updated COVID-19 case numbers and information about the measures taken to combat COVID-19 in Panama will now be sent once per week, unless there are significant changes requiring immediate updates.  

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. 

Please enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Embassy Panama City security updates: https://step.state.gov/ 

Entry and Exit Requirements:

 

  • As of March 22, Panama suspended all international commercial flights in and out of Panama.
  • On June 17, The Government of Panama extended the suspension of international commercial passenger flights to July 22. 
  • The U.S. Embassy is compiling a list of people seeking to leave Panama. Any U.S. citizen in Panama requesting assistance should send an email to PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov
  • On Thursday, March 19, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory.
  • As of March 13, all cruise ship passengers are banned from disembarking in Panama.

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: