Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (June 7, 2020)

Event:  COVID-19 Situation – Return to Quarantine in Panama Oeste and Panama Provinces 

On June 6, 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.  Gender restrictions allow for movements as follows:

  • Women:  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • Men:  Tuesday and Thursday

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 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
  • Weekends are quarantine from 5:00pm on Friday until 5:00am on Monday.
  • 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.  Other provinces in Panama will continue with the curfew that began on June 1 (see details below).   

On June 6, Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) confirmed 16,004 cases of COVID-19.  

This weekend the curfew was extended for Panama Oeste and Panama provinces.  On Saturday, June 6 curfew began at 5 p.m. and will last until Monday, June 8 at 5 a.m.  Curfew for all other provinces remains from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next morning. 

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.  

On June 2, 2020, 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.  

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. 

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 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. 

Also on June 1, the second economic block opened. The sectors included in that block are: public construction, mining of non-metals, and industry.  Religious sites, parks, social areas, and sporting areas are also allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity.  For more details about the Government of Panama’s plan to gradually reopen the economy, see the infographic in this tweet from MINSA or go to the Embassy’s COVID-19 information page (see link below).  The Government of Panama will evaluate every two weeks, but the date for opening additional business blocks remains unknown.

On May 15, the Government of Panama extended the suspension of international commercial passenger flights for an additional 30 days until June 22.  The previous exceptions for cargo, humanitarian, medical supplies, medical evacuation, and vaccines remain in place.

On April 21, the Municipal Council of the City of Panama passed a new decree stating that anyone leaving their residence must be wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth.  Panamanian National Police and Municipal Police will enforce the decree which extends throughout the metropolitan area of Panama City.

On March 26, Panama announced the nationwide suspension of commercial passenger and domestic charter flights, in addition to the ban on international commercial passenger flights.  There are exceptions for cargo, humanitarian, medical supplies, medical evacuation, and vaccines. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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