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There are several topics associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. This topic is the main or primary topic on this subject. The easiest way to find all topics related to coronavirus is to invoke a “tag display”. Simply click on the “ covid-19 ” tag (white characters on black background) that you see displayed near the top left of this topic.

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Significant pandemic milestones:

  • February 21st: Likely transfer of coronavirus from a teacher (who had traveled to Europe)  to Panama's first coronavirus death victim (Norato González); Click Here
  • March 3rd: Resolution passed raising national alert level regarding coronavirus epidemic; Click Here
  • March 8th: First confirmed coronavirus death (Norato González) in Panama; Click Here
  • March 9th: First confirmed case of coronavirus in Panama; not the date of case arrival in Panama, but the date the coroniavirus link was confirmed; Click Here
  • March 12th: President Cortizo declares a a national state of emergency; Click Here
  • March 15th: Certain business hours regulated, elective surgeries and routine medical consults suspended; Click Here
  • March 15th: Several provinces invoke a "dry law" (banning sales of alcoholic beverages) and implementing curfews; Chiriqui Province included; Click Here
  • March 15th: Foreigners banned from entering Panama; Click Here
  • March 17th: Countrywide curfew (9:00PM to 5:00AM) mandated; Click Here
  • March 22nd: All commercial flights into and out of Panama suspended; Click Here
  • March 23rd: Countrywide curfew (5:00PM to 5:00AM) mandated; Click Here
  • March 25th: Countrywide quarantine with restricted mobility mandated; sales of alcoholic beverages banned; Click Here
  • May 11th: Effective date of lifting the ban on the sales of alcoholic beverages; Click Here
  • May 13th: The gradual reopening of certain categories of business; Click Here
  • May 18th: People are authorized to leave their homes to exercise outdoors, but on a short lease; Click Here
  • June 1st: Quarantine lifted, but a 7:00PM to 5:00AM curfew is in effect; Click Here
  • June 3rd: Hardware stores reopen with limited hours; Click Here
  • June 6th and June 8th: Curfew/mobility restrictions elevated for Panama, Panama Oeste, and Veragaus regions; Click Here and Click Here
  • July 25th: Full weekend quarantine (lockdown) re-implemented for Panama; Click Here
  • July 27th: More restrictive mobility constraints including gender restrictions re-implemented, including Chiriqui Province; Click Here and Click Here
  • August 14th: Tocumen International Airport begins to open up to limited flights; Click Here
  • August 17th: Some "Block 3" businesses will be permitted to start operations; Click Here
  • September 14th: Relaxation of mobility constraints for all but three provinces; Chiriqui, Colon, and Bocas del Toro constraints continue; Click Here
  • September 28th: Restaurants and inns reopen providing they follow Minsa guidelines; Click Here
  • October 12th: Cinemas, swimming pools, and casinos allowed to reopen, and borders reopened; Click Here and Click Here
  • October 24th: All quarantines lifted and curfews standardized across the country and relaxed to 11:00PM until 5:00AM; Click Here
  • December 25th: Total lockdown countrywide for Christmas and New Years; Click Here and Click Here
  • January 4th, 2021: Total lockdown countrywide until January 14th, 2021; Click Here

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Hospital director vacationed in Hawaii after suspending staff vacations

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Dr. Jose Croston - Hawaii vacations

Posted 04/01/2021

The Administration Attorney Rigoberto González  has opened an ethics investigation into the medical director of the Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex and has sent a letter to the director of the Social Security Fund (CSS), Enrique Lau Cortés, to certify whether, the doctor José A. Croston was granted vacations. This, as a result of videos on social networks that refer to a memorandum where the vacations of health personnel were suspended     Dr. Croston, was on vacation in Hawaii while regulation were in force.

González stressed that the right to vacations is not questioned since it is a recognized right, both in human rights conventions, treaties and in the constitution, however, if as a result of the state of emergency that the country is going through, it is took the measure of suspending the use of vacations for all health personnel that makes up the CSS Complex, how it is explained that Croston was granted . In the opinion of the Attorney General's Office, "in the matter of human rights, no restrictions or demands can be made from others if the person who is capable of making such decisions is not, in turn, willing to assume equal restrictions and sacrifices.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/hospital-director-vacationed-in-hawaii-after-suspending-staff-vacations

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Moderator comment: Two prior postings in this thread were removed at the request of the originator of those two postings. Because this current posting quotes the removed content, this reply by default

That is recklessly false.  Right now there are two cruise ships where all passengers are quarantined.  Given how rotovirus spreads in a cruise ship environment, those ships are not a good place to be,

Get used to the weekend lockdowns.  My contact told me before Easter that Panama would be locking down the weekends. THEN, the notices from the US Embassy said, if you go back and read them, satu

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Covid positivity rate at 28.18%

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Posted 04/01/2021

The percentage of positivity in diagnostic tests for Covid-19 is almost six times higher in Panama than that recommended by the World Health Organization.

In the last epidemiological week - from December 27 to January 2 - this percentage - a key indicator in controlling the pandemic - was 28.1%, when the ideal is 5%.

In the recent report of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the epidemiologists of the Ministry of Health, it is seen that from the week of August 16 to 22, with the increase in tests, there was a progressive decrease in the percentage of positivity to reach 10.3% and 10.4%, in the last two weeks of October; however,in the last week (December 20-27) it reached 20.7%.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/covid-positivity-rate-at-2818-1

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First covid vaccines arrive in two weeks

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Posted 05/01/2021

The first batch of 40,000 doses of the covid vaccine from the pharmaceutical duo Pfizer and BioNTech, will arrive in the country between January 18 and 25 said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erika Mouynes on Tuesday, Jan 5.

We have a commitment of 450,000 (doses) for the first quarter, what we announced yesterday (Monday) were the first batches of the period. Vaccines will be arriving every week, "said the minister in Telemetro Reporta.

Mouynes also emphasized that the payment of $6 million for the purchase of the vaccines was made on time.

On the morning news, the Minister said that the contract with Pfizer cannot be published.

"The contract has the terms that they want to protect for their own commercial dealings with other countries and that is why we cannot publish it, unless we have the authorization," she said.

At Monday's press conference, the Foreign Minister said that Panama has purchased 5.5 million doses for almost 3 million Panamanians, who would be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Mouynes confirmed that the country has a structured schedule that allows, progressively, to receive vaccines "from different manufacturers with whom we have negotiated, in a staggered manner according to a planned vaccination plan."

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/first-covid-vaccines-arrive-in-two-weeks-1

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Vacationing doctor in midst of pandemic explains "family business"

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The doctor in Hawaii

Posted 07/01/2021

The medical director of the Hospital Complex of the Social Security Fund (CSS) , José Crosto , justified the trip he made at the end of 2020 to Hawaii, while other hospital staff were prohibited from taking vacations arguing that he had a family matter to attend to. He maintained that his trip had been notified to the director of the entity, Enrique Lau Cortés, and added that an internal investigation is being carried out with which he is willing to cooperate.

Croston told TVN Noticias that the reason for his trip was to attend a process of buying a property that his daughter is making in Hawaii and that he had to go because he is the guarantor and he had  only until December 31 to comply with the requirements. " How not to take care of a daughter if I do not know tomorrow or the day after when I will see her again ... ", he said.

He said that he is an administrative doctor and does not feel affected by the provision, not to take vacations, and he had followed it for a year. Next week he will give his discharges within the internal investigation that takes place after his trip. The Administration Attorney's Office is also conducting a parallel investigation.

 

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/vacationing-doctor-in-midst-of-pandemic-explains-family-business-1

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Metro reaffirms ban on exhalation valve masks

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Posted 07/01/2021

Panama Metro on Thursday  Ian. 7 reaffirmed the ban on the use of masks or respirators with exhalation valves.

In a statement, the Metro recalled that the General Directorate of Public Health, which is based on studies by the World Health Organization and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, does not recommend the use of this type of mask. with exhalation valves.

It is recalled that these mouth covers have “valves that filter the air inhaled by the user, but it does not filter the air that it exhales, allowing the expulsion of respiratory particles that could be contaminated so if the person is sick and does not know it, they will expose people who are in their environment ”.

The Metro administration reminds users to take extreme hygiene and biosecurity measures during their transfers and to comply with the traveler's regulations and avoid penalties.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/metro-reaffirms-ban-on-exhalation-valve-masks-1

 

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Covid infections reach new daily high

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Women in line for tests

Posted 07/01/2021

The Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported 5,186 new cases of Covid -19 on Wednesday, January 6, a new daily record

So far in 2021, there are 18,166 new cases  bringing  the number  of active cases to 52,053

In addition, the health authority reported 45 new deaths, for a total of 4,283.  , 19,830 tests were applied, for a percentage of positivity of 26.1%

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/covid-infections-reach-new-daily-high

 

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Post lockdown reopening will be gradual

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Posted 08/01/2021

The reopening of businesses after the lockdown will be gradual said Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre on  Friday, January 8. To reopen fully would cancel out the effects of the quarantine but he is waiting for a report to see if it can be reopened from  January 15. although he considers that it will not be necessary to extend it completely.  

He also indicated that in other provinces such as Darién, Herrera, Coclé, Los Santos and Veraguas, some more restrictive measures are being considered due to the increase in cases and this could parallel the gradual reopening of Panama and Panama Oeste, which are still in evaluation.

Sucre also referred to the parties reported at the end of the year and a social gathering that took place in a restaurant in San Francisco. He said all participants will be sanctioned, while the party on a yacht is still being investigated. " The investigations are being carried out, the names of all those who were there are being compiled along with  those who authorized the sailing of that yacht, and those identified are going to be summoned, " said the Minister

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/post-lockdown-reopening-will-be-gradual-1

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At least 6.4% of Panama population infected with covid-19

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Posted 08/01/2021

In the 10 months that go into a pandemic, Covid-19 reached 6.4% of the total population of the country, that is, 269,091 people.

However, epidemiologists and members of the Health Advisory Council agree that the number of infected may be higher and range between 600,000 and 800,000 since the first case was reported, on March 9, 2020.

Francisco Sánchez Cárdenas, a member of the Advisory Council, explained that in order to determine the real figure, the Ministry of Health must carry out a seroprevalence study, but what they are observing is that for each positive case, five contacts are identified and, of those, two or three come out positive.

Of the total of cases reported so far, 27% occurred in the first half of the pandemic (March-August) and the remaining 73% in the second half (September-January).

It is a complex scenario that epidemiologist Arturo Rebollón describes told La Orensa: “The first wave only got our feet wet. Today we are in another category ”.

A second wave bigger than expected

The country is about to reach a 10-month pandemic with about 270000 cases and an uncontrolled community infection, in which each passing week exceeds the previous one in the number of Covid-19 infections.

This second wave of cases does not cease to surprise epidemiologists and members of the Health Advisory Council, who expected a rebound in infections in late 2020 and early 2021, but not of the current magnitude, in which there are up to 5,000 cases in one day.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/at-least-64-of-panama-population-infected-with-covid-19

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Panama signs agreements with four COVID-19 vaccine makers

By Reuters Staff

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FILE PHOTO: A woman gets tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, Panama October 16, 2020. Picture taken October 16, 2020. REUTERS/Erick Marciscano

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panama has signed agreements with four producers of COVID-19 vaccines to acquire a total of 5.5 million doses, enough for 80% of the population, senior health ministry official Nadja Porcell said on Tuesday.

Vaccines from drugmaker Pfizer are set to begin arriving in early 2021, Porcell said in a televised address.

Reporting by Elida Moreno, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-panama/panama-signs-agreements-with-four-covid-19-vaccine-makers-idUKKBN29401L

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Health authorities monitor manditory face shields

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Posted 09/01/2021

The  Ministry of Health (Minsa) continues to monitor the mandatory use of face shields.  

Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre, announced that establishing the mandatory use of these protectors would first be in public passenger transport.

Sucre emphasized that, according to the experience of other countries, the effectiveness of this protection has been shown to reduce infections between people, especially in crowded places.

He added that in the case of taxi transportation, Metrobus and Metro users must use them, since the physical distance required to prevent the spread of the virus is not kept.

With the increase in cases in recent weeks, the administrations of mass public passenger transport are recommending the use of face shields as an additional measure of protection.

On Friday, the Minsa reported 3,946 new positive cases, after the application of 16,170 tests, for a percentage of positivity of 24.4%. Active cases total 53,311.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/health-authorities-monitor-manditory-face-shields

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Highly contagious coronavirus   mutation doubled - Gorgas

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Posted 10/01/2021

The mutation of the new  coronavirus that arrived in Panama, called D614G, has doubled in recent months according to a report from  the Gorgas Memorial Institue,

The Institute highlights that "70% of cases were found with the D614G mutation, this variant is not the one found in England, however, it is also highly contagious."

Researchern Alexander Martínez, Head of the Gorgas Genomics and Proteomics Research department, highlighted that this percentage is the product of a random sampling of cases in December of 75 sequenced samples.

“That implies that this variant doubled the proportion of people it has potentially infected. In July it was a little less than 30%, ”explained Martínez.

He added that it seeks to evaluate the places where more cases occurred, and thus explore whether there was a responsible variant, either those described in the United Kingdom or South Africa, "and a variant that we already knew in the country was found, however with a much higher frequency ”.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/highly-contagious-coronavirus-mutation-doubled-gorgas

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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Panama and the Coronavirus (Covid-19 and D614G Mutation) Pandemic
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Exemplary sanctions needed for rule-flouting officials

Posted 10/01/2021

The numbers of infections and deaths from Covid-19 are chilling, and the numbers are expected to get even worse this month. That is why it is not unreasonable to think that the restrictive mobility measures will be extended, at least, for this month. And although the vaccination process will begin within a few days, Panamanians must continue to maintain the biosecurity measures that specialists advise us. In a matter of a week there have been as many infections as the equivalent to the sum of all those recorded in some months, such as September and October of last year. Hospital capacity is at the limit, despite the fact that hundreds of more beds have been added. So, on our part we need greater discipline, patience and responsibility in our mobility. At the same time, It is important that the Government sanction exemplarily those officials who fail to comply with the restrictions it imposes. It is useless to ask obedience to a people who are led by leaders who are incapable of fulfilling what they demand of their fellow citizens. It is simply absurd. Either we get serious in what we say and what we do or many of us will become the fateful statistical numbers of Covid-19. LA  PRENSA.Jan .10

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/exemplary-sanctions-needed-for-rule-flouting-officials

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Moderator comment: Below is an email received from the US Embassy in Panama City.

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To:
Sent: 1/12/2021 5:12:00 PM
Subject: Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (January 12, 2021)
 

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Health Alert:  U.S. Embassy Panama City, Panama (January 12, 2021) 

 

Event:  Updated Regional and Nationwide COVID-19 Restrictions in Panama 

 

On January 12, the Government of Panama announced updated regional and national COVID-19 restrictions beginning January 14.  

 

Starting January 14, a nationwide curfew is in effect Monday through Friday from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.  Additional movement and business restrictions vary by region.  

 

Panama and Panama Oeste:  Starting January 14, movement restrictions based on passport or cedula number are eliminated.  However, gender restrictions for shopping remain in place (Men:  Tuesdays and Thursdays; Women: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays).  Weekends are full lockdown, from Fridays at 9 p.m. until Monday at 4 a.m.  Work-related gatherings are limited to 25 people or 25% capacity.  For a list of permitted activities, see slides six and seven of the Ministry of Health’s informational presentation here. 

 

Cocle, Veraguas, and Los Santos:  A full lockdown is in effect from 9 p.m., January 15 until 4 a.m., January 17.  Businesses will remain open until 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with no gender restrictions.  

 

Herrera:  Starting January 14, shopping will be restricted by gender (Men:  Tuesdays and Thursdays; Women:  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays).  Beginning January 15, weekends will be full lockdown, from Fridays at 9 p.m. until Monday at 4 a.m. 

 

The government also announced a gradual reopening plan that is subject to change depending on health conditions: 

  • February 1:  retail, beauty parlors, barber shops, daycare centers 

  • February 15:  carwashes, tailor shops, shoe repair shops, non-essential industries, cultural industries, restaurants 

  • March 1:  gyms, spas, lotteries, fishing, race tracks  

  • March 15:  beaches, movie theaters 

 

On December 28, the Government of Panama announced new regional and nationwide restrictions lasting until January 14.  Starting January 4, these include a return to movement restrictions based on gender and ID number in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste. 

 

Movement and shopping restrictions: 

  • From January 4 to 14, a total quarantine and curfew are in effect from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. for the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste.  Businesses will close at 7:30 p.m.  All non-essential businesses will be closed.   For the rest of Panama, the curfew remains from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. 

 

From January 4 to January 14, gender restrictions in Panama and Panama Oeste provinces allow for movement as follows: 

  • Women:  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 

  • Men:  Tuesday and Thursday  

 

Additionally, in Panama and Panama Oeste, movements are 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.   During their corresponding two-hour window, individuals are allowed one hour for travel (30 minutes each way) and one hour for shopping.  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 – 8:30 a.m. 

  • Last number is 8 – 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. 

  • Last number is 9 – 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. 

  • Last number is 0 – 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. 

  • Last number is 1 – 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. 

  • Last number is 2 – 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. 

  • Last number is 3 – 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. 

  • Last number is 4 – 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. 

  • Last number is 5 – 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. 

  • Last number is 6 – 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. 

 

There is a special window for the handicapped and those over 60 years old, regardless of cedula or passport numbers, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (gender restrictions still apply).  One caretaker (regardless of their gender) may accompany these individuals.  

  

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.   

  

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 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. 

  

The Embassy will continue to send messages, as needed, about larger changes that may affect U.S. citizens in Panama.  Minor changes, such as new health recommendations or reopening of a new sector of Panama's economy, will be placed on the Embassy’s COVID-19 Information page.  For all the details about changes made by the Government of Panama in response to the pandemic, please see the daily announcements from the Ministry of Health.   

  

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-19 for information on conditions in Panama.  

·         Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States. 

  

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. 

  

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

 

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Reopening timetable announcement on Tuesday

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Posted 12/01/2021

The timetable for the gradual reopening on Thursday will be announced on Tuesday says Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre.

Sucre announced that the curfew, for Panama and Panama Oeste, will be from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. However, there will be a total quarantine on weekends, starting on January 15, from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 am

Sucre also announced that the control of mobility schedules by ID has been eliminated; it will only be by gender.

Minister of Commerce and Industries, Ramón Martínez, said that as of February 1, the retail trade will be able to operate in person, keeping the corresponding limits on numbers.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/reopening-timetable-announcement-on-tuesday

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Reopening news gets cool reception

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Posted 13/01/2021

The gradual reopening of the economy announced by the Health Ministry (Minsa) on Tuesday has received a  cool reception from the private sector.       

 eliminated The restriction on mobility by identification and announced that departures by gender will be allowed on the corresponding days for men and women in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste.

Luis Francisco Sucre, Minister of Health, said that the curfew will be from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., and there will be a total quarantine on weekends, starting on January 15, from Fridays at 9 monday at 4:00 am

He added that the restrictions to cut the chain of transmission of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus were extended to the provinces of Coclé, Veraguas, Los Santos and Herrera.

 Meanwhile, the Minister of Commerce and Industries, Ramón Martínez, said that from    February 1, the retail trade will be to operate in person, keeping the corresponding capacity limit   beauty parlors and barber shops will open

From February 15, it will be the turn of car washes, tailors, shoe stores, creative and cultural industries restaurants (with the mandatory use of acrylic screens), Martínez said.

-On March 1, gyms, massage rooms, beauty salons, spa, lottery and racetrack will open. on March 15, the beaches, spas, cinemas, casinos are scheduled to reopen.

The Archdiocese will reopen  churches from to Friday from January 15

For the president of the Industrial Union of Panama (SIP), Aldo Mangravita, the measures that will be applied as of January 14 will be negative for the economy, especially for the restaurant sector.

"The economy has been heading to the cliff for months and now more with these new measures," he said.

 the president of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives, Elisa Suárez, indicated that the important thing is that traceability is maintained to prevent people from reaching hospitals.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/reopening-news-gets-cool-reception-1

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Almost 50 Panama doctors and nurses killed by covid-19

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Posted 14/01/2021

A list of doctors  and nurses who died in their fight against covid-19 is accompanied by a public letter addressed to business  associations

Almost fifty health personnel, including doctors and nurses, have died after being infected wth covid19, in different hospitals in the country.

The list provided to El Siglo lists the names and workplace of 41 doctors who were infected with coronavirus in their workplace

The list of is accompanied by a public letter in which health professionals question business associations that are demanding the opening of their businesses.

"This is the high quota of sacrifice that doctors have given, not counting nurses, nursing technicians, laboratory workers and all health personnel in this pandemic," the note highlights.

The letter questions the business unions that demand the opening of their businesses who do not care about the mourning and pain of thousands of Panamanian families.

“These groups receive more than 90 percent of the country's wealth and are demanding full opening from the government, the note highlights.

The medical source that issued the document called them dehumanized and with a heart of stone that little or nothing has mattered to them with the health personnel and with the more than 4,500 victims of covid-19.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/almost-50-panama-doctors-and-nurses-killed-by-covid-19

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OPINION - Panama's deepening dark hole

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Posted 15/01/2021

Panama has earned a dishonorable place on the issue of the pandemic. We are in the first places in America, only surpassed by Peru and the United States, in deaths per 100,000 inhabitants (104), while in infections, 6,525 per 100,000 inhabitants, only surpassed by the United States. The good news is that Panama conducts a considerable amount of Covid-19 testing. But, contrary to the case of the United States, here in Panama there have been strict controls on confinement, business closures and mobility restrictions. But, with everything and that, our numbers are shameful, and in this we are to blame both the ruled and the rulers. This pandemic, in addition to spoiling our economy, has caused great human losses, and now we are hoping that the arrival of vaccines will gradually materialize a way out of this dark hole in which we have been falling for almost a year. Although only now the case figures have stabilized, with a slight downward trend, we are still far from a definitive solution. It is urgent now, more than ever, to maintain the recommended measures to prevent the spread of viruses. – LA PRENSA,Jan.15

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-panamaamp039s-deepening-dark-hole-1

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Covid daily deaths hit new high but signs of cases stabalising

Posted 15/01/2021

On the day that the  Health  Ministry reported a new record of Covid-19 patients in ICUs (237); and a   new peak in the daily toll (57)  For the epidemiologist Arturo Rebollón, says the average number of daily cases, (3,300) remains the same as 14 days ago. "It is a good sign, since every 14 days we came with an average acceleration of 500 new cases per day,"

While Francisco Sánchez Cárdenas , from the Health Advisory Council, said that right now there is slight stability in the positivity of the tests, but that does not mean that there are fewer cases. “What slowed down was the speed. We still don't have to celebrate ”, he added.

On Thursday the Ministry of Health reported 2,877 new cases and 57 new deaths. Panama has high rates of cases and deaths in America

Although the country has been experiencing a stabilization in the speed of new infections, the average number of new daily cases still remains high.

It is a dynamic that could give hope to the most optimistic within the country, but, facing the world, Panama remains among the first places in America with the highest rates of infection and mortality.

The country situation report of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) indicates that in the last four epidemiological weeks, the country went from 19,000 3eekly cases to 25,000 cases. That looks at the last three weeks of 2020 and the first of 2021.

Compared with the other countries of America, Panama has the highest mortality rate (104 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants) in Central America and the third highest in the continent, only surpassed by Peru and the United States.

regarding the rate of infections, the country ranks second in America (6,525 accumulated cases per 100,000 inhabitants) after the United States.

For epidemiologists and members of the Health Advisory Council, this has two explanations: the behavior of the population, which insists on not complying with biosafety measures, and the high number of tests that are being carried out in the country.

In fact, the PAHO report specifies that although Panama shows the second-highest incidence of Covid-19 in America, it is one of the countries that applies the most diagnostic tests to the population (335,319 tests per million inhabitants), being surpassed only by Chile (359,335 tests per million inhabitants), Canada (375 622 tests per million inhabitants) and the United States 780 ,38 tests per million inhabitants).

For epidemiologist Rebollón, this scenario has two readings. The first is that the country leads statistics of infections and deaths because it is obviously also one of the places in the region that does the most tests.

“Our system has been characterized by doing many tests, and that indicates that we are counting new infections and deaths better than other countries. That means that our numbers as a country do not have as much margin of error, and thatour figures are closer to reality, "he

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/covid-daily-deaths-hit-new-high-but-signs-of-cases-stabalising-1

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Moderator comment: This posting is done as an exception to the CL policy about content being related to Panama. This is an email from the US Embassy in Panama City regarding mandatory Covid-19 testing upon entry into the USA.

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Sent: 1/15/2021 8:30:33 PM
Subject: Health Alert Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs January 15, 2021
 
Health Alert - Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs (January 15, 2021)

Location: Worldwide:The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director has signed an order requiring all airline passengers traveling to the United States, including U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test or recovery from COVID-19.

Event: Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide either a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel or provide a positive test result and documentation from a licensed health care provider or public health official of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.  Passengers must also attest, under penalty of law, to having received a negative qualifying test result or to recovery from COVID-19 and medical clearance to travel.

See the CDC Proof of Negative Test Result page to view the order, complete the attestation, and to see FAQ's.

Airlines must deny boarding to passengers who do not meet these requirements.

U.S. citizens in countries where adequate COVID-19 testing is not available or may not be able to satisfy the requirements, should depart immediately or prepare to be unable to return to the United States until such time as they can meet the requirements.  

Actions to Take:
 
  • Monitor the CDC website for latest guidance regarding testing requirements.
  • Check with your air carriers or travel representative prior to departure for the United States.
  • Check COVID-19 Country Specific Information updated information on COVID-19 related information including availability of testing.
  • Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security's website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
  • Click  herefor our COVID FAQs Search Tool. 
Assistance:

State Department - Consular Affairs

888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

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

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

 

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Beach closing boondogle

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Posted 16/01/2021

After three days of confusion about access to the use of beaches and spas, the civil protection authorities (Sinaproc decided on Friday to raise the "red flag     - on the beaches of the provinces of Panama, Panama West, and Herrera.

For Panama and West Panama it will be until March 15, and in Herrera, until February 1, according to a statement from (Sinaproc) that indicates that the measure is adopted to mitigate the   Covid-19 pandemic.

On January 13, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) issued a statement in which it indicated that for Panama and Panama Oeste access to the beaches would be prohibited, despite the fact that an Executive Decree signed by the Health, Minister, Luis Sucre, and President Laurentino Cortizo, made it clear that only on days of total quarantine (weekends) was access and use of beaches, rivers and public spas was prohibited in the Panama, Panama Oeste, Herrera, Coclé, Los Santos and Veraguas. That decree is still in force.

In other words, from Monday to Friday there seemed to be a green light for the beaches. This provision, although it corresponded to the request of the administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority, Iván Eskildsen, not to be so strict with the beaches, was later "clarified" by the Ministry of Health, through a statement, also dated January 13, in which they indicated that Panama and Panama Oeste have restricted the use of beaches, rivers and public spas until March 15.

The confusion on the subject, marked by the fact that a communiqué cannot annul a decree, continued Friday. Even President Cortizo tried to explain abundantly what the Minsa said. However, at the close of Friday’s edition,of La Prensa Executive Decree No. 62 had not been amended.

For Panama and Panama West it will be until March 15, and in Herrera, until February 1, according to a statement from (Sinaproc) that indicates that the measure is adopted to mitigate the   Covid-19 pandemic.

On January 13, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) issued a statement in which it indicated that for Panama and Panama Oeste access to the beaches would be prohibited, despite the fact that an Executive Decree signed by the Health, Minister, Luis Sucre, and President Laurentino Cortizo, made it clear that only on days of total quarantine (weekends) was access and use of beaches, rivers and public spas was prohibited in the Panama, Panama Oeste, Herrera, Coclé, Los Santos and Veraguas. That decree is still in force.

In other words, from Monday to Friday there seemed to be a green light for the beaches. This provision, although it corresponded to the request of the administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority, Iván Eskildsen, not to be so strict with the beaches, was later "clarified" by the Ministry of Health, through a statement, also dated January 13, in which they indicated that Panama and Panama Oeste have restricted the use of beaches, rivers and public spas until March 15.

The confusion on the subject, marked by the fact that a communiqué cannot annul a decree, continued Friday. Even President Cortizo tried to explain abundantly what the Minsa said. However, at the close of Friday’s edition,of La Prensa Executive Decree No. 62 had not been amended.

José Donderis, former director of Sinaproc, posted on his Twitter account, “My recommendation to everyone, the beach flag system is an orientation system for bathers and it is to indicate sea conditions and the calibration of risks on it. The Health issue for Covid is the subject of @MINSAP
 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/beach-closing-boondogle-3

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Spreading disgust and confusion

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Posted 16/01/2021

The National Civil Protection System (Sinaproc) has unilaterally decided to keep some beaches in the country closed. This, despite the fact that its partial opening on weekdays would have been authorized by the authorities.

 Sinaproc's concern is understandable, although planting red flags on beaches for health reasons is something that should be a decision for other bodies. Banning the use of beaches has exacerbated spirits, since such an announcement causes not only disgust, but also confusion, because in a matter of days, there were both advances and setbacks, which generated such a degree of confusion that no longer knows who to believe.

These decisions must be coordinated and communicated through a single channel, since, far from clarifying, a restriction measure explained by five or ten officials who, above all, are not coordinated, it will inevitably end with five or ten versions –and in many cases different– of the same event, since the message is distorted with each version that is given. After 10 months of announcements and press conferences, you would think that all this would have been understood and overcome, but every day we see the same people with the same entanglements. And now Sinaproc is added. Frankly, this has no solution. It is easier to start from scratch than to fix such incompetence. this has no solution. It is easier to start from scratch than to fix such incompetence. this has no solution. It is easier to start from scratch than to fix such incompetence. LA PRENSA, Jan. 16

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/spreading-disgust-and-confusion

 

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Pfizer qnnounces plan to speed vaccine deliveries

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Posted 16/01/2021

AFP - The US group Pfizer, associated with the German laboratory BioNTech, announced on Saturday a "plan" that will limit the delay in the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine to one week, when Europe feared a longer deadline, of "three to four weeks ”.

"Pfizer and BioNTech have developed a plan to increase manufacturing capabilities in Europe and deliver many more doses in the second quarter," the two companies announced in a joint statement.

"We will return to the initial delivery schedule in the European Union from the week of January 25, with an increase in deliveries from the week of February 15," added both groups.

"For this, certain modifications of the production processes are necessary from now on", indicated both partners.

Pfizer warned on Friday that due to works at a vaccine production plant in Puurs, Belgium, it should delay those deliveries. Berlin evoked a reduction in cadence "for three to four weeks

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/pfizer-qnnounces-plan-to-speed-vaccine-deliveries

 

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Fake News follows vaccine's arrival

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Posted 17/01/2021

A few days after the first batch of 40,000 doses of the vaccine against  Covid-19 arrived in Panama, Fake News about the biological were clogging social networks. Two of them are that the messenger RNA vaccine intervenes directly in the genetic material of the person who receives it or that it is made with cells from aborted fetuses.

Ivonne Torres Atencio, Director of Pharmacology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Panama, provides scientific answers as to why each of these statements is false and says that the best antidote to misinformation is information based on evidence.

Her academic profile shows that she is a Graduate in Pharmacy, at  the University of Panama. and

Master in Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, from the University of Panama.

Ph.D. in Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, in Spain.

Member of the American Association for the Advance of Science (AAAS).

Messenger RNA vaccines intervene directly in a person's genetic material.

False. They do not intervene. The genetic material of people is contained in what is known as the nucleus of cells, and is made up of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which is a double strand. Messenger RNA is a single strand, with a specific number of elements that act in the cytoplasm of cells, in structures known as ribosomes, where the code of that message is read that allows it to produce a protein especially directed towards the virus, not the genes.

 These vaccines against Covid-19 are not very effective, since they developed very quickly.

False. The effectiveness of vaccines is related to their ability to prevent infection and serious events, and this does not depend on how quickly they are produced, but on how it trains our body to recognize and destroy the virus.

A nurse passed out just after getting vaccinated against Covid-19 in the United States.

It wasn't because of the vaccine. The nurse, who goes by the name Tiffany Pontes Dover, is a nursing manager at CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States, and was among the first people to receive the vaccine from pharmaceutical duo Pfizer-BioNTech. Minutes after receiving it, she fainted, after recovering from the blackout, he explained that this commonly happens when he feels some kind of pain, and there was no major consequence.

 Covid-19 vaccines contain cells from aborted fetuses.

 It's false. Messenger RNA vaccines do not use human cells, much less fetuses. The sequence required is a copy of the virus, in this case, SARS-CoV-2, whose genomic sequence was described in January 2020, and the part of the genome that synthesizes one of the proteins that bind to cells is taken. of people and is known as protein "S" or spicule. The process is completely synthetic, and has been the product of more than 30 years of research, and over time, it has been modernized and optimized.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/fake-news-follows-vaccineamp039s-arrival-1

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Business leaders call for beach,parks reopening

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Posted 17/01/2021

The Chamber of Commerce and Industries (Cciap) has called for the reopening of all beaches, and parks with measures that limit crowds.

Panama and West Panama will be governed by the gradual reopening plan, therefore, it will not be possible to at

Even in times of pandemic, tourism must occupy an important position within the spectrum of decisions and not be left in the background says the Chamber.

"The current situation must be considered as an opportunity to promote the sustainability and resilience of this sector," stated the organization, in Opina Chamber.

The CCIAP emphasized that “it is extremely difficult” to carry out the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan 2020-2025 –presented by the Panama Tourism Authority– when measures that compromise its pillars are proposed at the same time.

"The closure of national parks, trails, and beaches, on weekends, contradicts what is indicated by experts, who indicate that the risk of contagion outdoors is very low and that these areas are ideal places to develop healthy recreation, so recommended for the mental health of the human being ”, said the document.

For this reason, they urged the authorities to reconsider and encourage the total opening of these places, with provisions that limit crowds. In the same way, create the conditions so that tourism can move to its destinations.

The CCIAP recalled that the tourism industry is made up of a multiplicity of entrepreneurs, businessmen and companies. A large part of this tourism business ecosystem is made up of micro-entrepreneurs, family businesses and native entrepreneurs from the towns and small cities where most of the national attractions are located, whose livelihood they sought to recover in the last months of 2020; "However, as a result of the recent measures to close economic activities and mobility restrictions, they have lost a large part of their main source of income: national and international tourists."

“The messages that we send to the world today are crucial. We must present ourselves as a receptive country for tourists, who understand the situation and present alternatives for their safety and that of their citizens. Several of the countries that compete with Panama, such as Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, have positioned their traditional attractions adapted to the new world reality. Thus tourism will be a

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/business-leaders-call-for-beachparks-reopening-1

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1,750 new covid infections, 44 deaths

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Posted 18/01/2021

Panama reported  1,750 new covid-19  infections and, 44 deaths on Sunday, January 17.

9,663 new tests were carried out. in addition to the 44 new fatalities, the Health report adds another 5 deaths that had not been counted in previous days, for a cumulative total of 4,787 deaths. Since the pandemic began in Panama  298,019 infections have been registered, 1,529,352 tests have been carried out, 80.6% negative and 19.4% positive. Active cases total 54,233. Of these, 51,556 people are reported in home isolation, of which 50,796 are at home and 760 in hotels. There are 2,677 hospitalized (2,444 are in the ward and 233 in the ICU).

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/1750-new-covid-infections-44-deaths

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