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31 Mar 2020 | 05:38 AM UTC

Panama: Domestic restrictions expanded as of April 1 /update 7

Government extends domestic movement restrictions starting April 1; follow authority directives

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PAN

Event

The Panamanian government has announced stricter domestic restrictions on movement in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country beginning Wednesday, April 1, for 15 days. Women will be able to leave their homes for essential purchases only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Men will be free to do so on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. No one is permitted to leave their homes on Sundays.

All adults over 60 years old and people with disabilities, regardless of their ID number, will be able to make their purchases between 11:00 and 13:00 (local time), though on the designated dates assigned by their gender.

An initial nationwide quarantine was initially implemented on Wednesday, March 25. That same day, Panamanian authorities announced the suspension of all domestic air travel until further notice. Humanitarian and cargo flights will be exempt from the ban. Officials previously halted all international flights from the country on Sunday, March 22.

On Sunday, March 15, Panamanian authorities announced the closures of commercial and leisure establishments for 30 days.

As of Tuesday, March 31, there are 1075 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Panama, including 27 deaths and nine recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.