Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (April 18, 2020)
Event: Increased Movement Restrictions, COVID-19 Situation Report, and Reminders
On April 16, the Government of Panama announced that both Saturday, April 18, and Sunday, April 19, will be full quarantine whereby no one can leave their homes. For now, the inclusion of Saturday only applies to this weekend.
On April 17, Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) confirmed 4,210 cases of COVID-19.
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 April 1, the government expanded movement restrictions based on gender. Individuals will be permitted to circulate during the same hours determined by ID number as set forth in previous decrees. However, the expanded restrictions only allow for movements as follows:
- Women: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
- Men: Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturday
- Sunday: Everyone must stay home
- Normal exceptions apply for holders of permission letters (salvoconductos)
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.
On March 26, Panama announced the nationwide suspension of commercial passenger and domestic charter flights, in addition to the March 22 ban on international commercial passenger flights. There are exceptions for cargo, humanitarian, medical supplies, medical evacuation, and vaccines.
The Embassy is working on evacuation options via commercial humanitarian and military flights for those U.S. Citizens wishing to depart Panama. Please express your interest in consideration for potential evacuation flights by emailing: PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov.
Availability will be based upon first-come first-served basis and will require a financial commitment in the form of a repatriation loan for the State Department calculated one-way fare to the destination of the aircraft, which is NOT negotiable.
On March 25, Panama enacted nationwide movement restrictions, also being referred to as quarantine. The movement restrictions will include regular windows of time for people to conduct essential activities, such as grocery shopping, getting gas and medicines, or dealing with a medical emergency, based on the last digit of their cedula number or passport if an individual does not have a cedula. 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 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
Even with these time allowances, during the nationwide movement restrictions 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.
On March 22, the Panamanian government suspended all international commercial flights into and out of Panama for 30 days.
On March 19, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
On March 17, U.S. Embassy Panama suspended routine consular services. For emergency American Citizens Services, including emergency passports, please visit our website for additional information.
On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of U.S. personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak the Peace Corps has reduced/evacuated all Volunteers from Panama.
The Government of Panama has implemented enhanced quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Travelers should be prepared for further travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Visit the website of the Panamanian Ministry of Health (in Spanish) for the most up to date information on these measures.
Schools and universities are closed nation-wide. Sporting events, festivals, and all gatherings larger than 50 people have been banned. Visit the local government COVID-19 website for updated information.
The Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory for COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice
U.S. government personnel are restricted from non-essential domestic and international travel.
Actions to Take:
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
- For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19for information on conditions in Panama.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama
Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue
State Department – Consular Affairs
+1 (888)407-4747 or +1 (202)501-4444
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