Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (March 16, 2020)

Location:  Panama

Event:  There is an ongoing outbreak of Corona virus (COVID-19), first identified in Wuhan, China.  The global public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, with more than 100,000 reported cases worldwide.

On March 15, the Panamanian Ministry of Health announced 55 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Panama.

The government of Panama has implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Effective 11:59 pm March 16, only Panamanian citizens and residents can enter the country and all travelers must submit to a 14-day mandatory home quarantine.  This does not apply to those in transit, there is no guidance if this applies retroactively.

Effective March 16, all public entertainment areas and stores in the entire country must close, which includes, restaurants, bars, clubs, casinos, and children’s parks, as well as beaches.  Food delivery services, grocery stores, and pharmacies will continue to operate with social distancing and capacity limits.

All events nationwide (i.e., fairs, events, church services, etc.) that would congregate more than 50 people have been suspended.  Patrols are moving through the city sanctioning groups of over 50 persons.

On March 13, all cruise ship passengers were banned from disembarking in Panama.  If passengers must disembark, they will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Travelers should be prepared for 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 additional information on these new measures. The government has implemented school and university closures nationwide until March 20.  Schools and universities in San Miguelito, Panama Centro, and Panama Norte will remain closed until April 7.  The government has also suspended large gatherings until April 7. Visit the local government COVID-19 website for updated information.

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.

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

·         Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.

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