Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (July 17, 2020)

Event:  COVID-19 Situation Report and Reminders    

On July 16, Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) confirmed 50,373 cases of COVID-19.    

Beginning July 20 in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste, private sector employees are required to enter their places of employment by no later than 8:00am. Public sector employees are required to enter by no later than 9:00am.   

Effective July 17, MINSA established new quarantine hours for the Panama and Panama Oeste provinces.  Total quarantine begins on Friday at 7:00pm and ends on Monday at 5:00am.  Movement in these provinces remains restricted based on gender and ID number.  Gender restrictions allow for movements as follows:   

  • Women:  Monday and Wednesday. Friday until 7:00pm.  
  • Men:  Tuesday and Thursday. 

These movement restrictions allow for a two-hour window, intended only for essential purchases, 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).  
  • 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.  
  • Exercises such as bicycling, running, and skating are permissible if done within one kilometer of your home, with a mask, and inside your two-hour window. 

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.  The Government of Panama still maintains security checkpoints on the roads and prohibits most interprovincial travel.     

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.      

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 July 8, MINSA announced that Green Frog brand alcohol gel has been pulled from the market due to the content of toxic methanol.  To report the sale or distribution of this product, call 512-9163 or 512-9170.    

On June 17, the Government of Panama extended the suspension of international commercial passenger and domestic charter flights, originally announced on March 26, for an additional 30 days through July 22.  The previous exceptions for cargo, humanitarian, medical supplies, medical evacuation, and vaccines remain in place.    

Effective June 8, Panama’s National Immigration Service opened and 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, 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.     

On June 1, the Government of Panama opened the second economic block.  For more details about the Government of Panama’s plan to gradually reopen the economy, and the economic sectors opened in each block, see the infographic in this tweet from MINSA, also available with English translations on the Embassy’s COVID-19 Information page.  The Government of Panama will evaluate every two weeks, but the date for opening additional business blocks remains unknown.     

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.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice   

The Embassy is working on evacuation options via commercial humanitarian 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.  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 email panama-acs@state.gov. For emergency visa services, email panama-visas@state.gov.     

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.    

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.      

U.S. government personnel are restricted from non-essential domestic and international travel.    

Visit the embassy’s COVID-19 Information page for more information about the conditions in Panama.  For the most up-to-date information about new measures, see MINSA’s website (Spanish).     

Actions to Take:   

 Assistance:     

U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama 
Building 783, Demetrio Basilio Lakas Avenue 
Clayton, Panama 
+507 317-5000 
Panama-ACS@state.gov  
https://pa.usembassy.gov/   

State Department – Consular Affairs 
+1 (888)407-4747 or +1 (202)501-4444
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