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COVID-19 Panama Information

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59 MINUTE READ
April 13, 2021

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

Last updated: 04/09/21

***  Effective January 26, 2021, 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. See COVID-19 Testing below for more information.

Country-Specific Information

  • On April 13, 2021, the Panamanian Ministry of Health confirmed 359,121 total cases of COVID-19 in Panama.
  • On March 29, 2021, the President of Panama issued a decree clarifying the regional COVID-19 restrictions on travelers arriving from South America previously announced on March 27. See details below.
  • On February 19, 2021, the Government of Panama modified current regional and nationwide restrictions. See below for details.
  • On January 12, 2021, 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. 
  • On October 12, 2020 Panama resumed commercial aviation.  See the Entry and Exit Requirements section for more details.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Government of Panama’s Ministry of Health (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.
  • 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

Humanitarian exemptions to this order will be granted on an extremely limited basis and will only be considered when the country of departure lacks adequate COVID-19 testing capacity.   To submit information in support of an exemption, email panama-acs@state.gov

Testing is available at the following locations:

  • Tocumen International Airport (for international arrivals and departures), 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:

  • 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    
  • On January 13, the Government of Panama announced its COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan. U.S. citizens may register for a COVID-19 vaccine administered by the GoPhere. Registration is available for foreigners with or without migration 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 follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination. 
  • Please see Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

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, 2020, 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).
  • Passengers on inbound, outbound, or transit flights who test positive for COVID-19 at the airport will be required to quarantine at a MINSA-designated hotel/hospital for 14 days. Please note that the Embassy cannot grant exceptions to Panamanian Government regulations or insist that passengers be retested or discharged from quarantine prior to the end of the required quarantine period.
  • 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, 2020, all cruise ship passengers are banned from disembarking in Panama.

On March 29, 2021 the President of Panama issued a decree clarifying the regional COVID-19 restrictions previously announced on March 27.

Effective March 31, 2021, travelers arriving in Panama who have been in or who transited through any country in South America must provide proof of a negative COVID test within the last 48 hours. Such travelers will also be tested upon arrival at the expense of the passenger. If the person tests positive, he or she will be transferred directly to a hotel-hospital. If the person tests negative, he or she will follow a 5-days at-home quarantine and will be tested again by MINSA at the end of the quarantine period.

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. 

Movement Restrictions

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

Movement Restrictions:

Effective April 5, 2021, a nationwide curfew is in effect Monday through Sunday from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Additional movement and business restrictions vary by region.

Starting February 8, 2021, family bubbles are allowed to gather at beaches and rivers. Large-group bus trips are not allowed. Activities at beaches and rivers are only permitted from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  Masks must be worn at all times, except when within your family bubble or when entering the water.  Drinking alcohol at beaches and rivers is prohibited 

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, 2021, the Government of Panama announced a gradual reopening plan. 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.

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
  • Passengers on inbound, outbound, or transit flights who test positive for COVID-19 at the airport will be required to quarantine at a MINSA-designated hotel/hospital for 14 days. The Embassy cannot insist that passengers be retested or discharged from quarantine prior to the end of the required quarantine period.
  • All international arrivals from South America will be required to quarantine at a designated hotel for 14 days if they test positive at Tocumen Airport, and for five days if they test negative. At the end of the five-day period another test will be taken, and if the results are again negative, the quarantine period will be over. If the results are positive, the passenger will be placed under a 14-day quarantine. Please note that the Embassy cannot grant exceptions to Panamanian Government regulations or insist that passengers be retested or discharged from quarantine prior to the end of the required quarantine period.
  • 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 click here 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, 2020, 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, 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

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