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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

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American Airlines reanuda sus vuelos hacia Panamá

La aerolínea comienza a operar cuatro vuelos semanales desde Miami, y aumentará a seis vuelos semanales desde noviembre y a dos vuelos diarios en diciembre
Katiuska Hernández
15 oct 2020 - 03:29 PM


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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

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,

All of these efforts might slow the spread of the virus, but I don't see how it's going to stop it.  You can definitely have the virus and not be showing any symptoms.  Screening at airports or other

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Remdesivir fails to cut covid deaths


Posted 16/10/2020

The antiviral drug Remdesivir, considered one of the most promising treatments against Covid-19, turns out to be ineffective in preventing death from this disease, according to a study supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The drug "seems to have little or no effect on those hospitalized by Covid-19, as indicated by the rates of mortality, the start of respiratory assistance or the length of hospital stay," explains this study published online Thursday night.

Remdesivir, which was part of the experimental cocktail administered to US President Donald Trump after contracting the coronavirus last month, is one of several drugs reviewed by this large study of more than 11,000 people in 30 countries.

The data, which has not yet been reviewed by other doctors before being published in a scientific journal, appear to contradict at least two large American studies that showed that Remdesivir could reduce the length of hospitalizations of patients with Covid-19.


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HEALTH: Herd immuniry a mirage


Posted 16/10/2020

The idea of letting the Covid-19 virus circulate freely to achieve herd immunity, postulated at the beginning of the pandemic, is increasingly emerging as a dangerous mirage, according to many scientists, some of whom have described it as “mass murder.”

It is about allowing a certain proportion of the population to become infected with the virus so that the pandemic stops on its own, in the absence of new people to infect.

But, after months of health emergencies, "we are very, very far" from reaching that threshold, Frédéric Altare, an immunity specialist at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, told AFP.

The World Health Organization (WHO) made it clear this week: “Never, in the history of public health, has herd immunity been used as a strategy to respond to an epidemic, let alone a pandemic. It is problematic from a scientific and ethical point of view, ”said its CEO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Releasing a dangerous virus, from which many things escape us, is simply unethical. It is not an option, ”he insisted.

The WHO estimates that in most countries, 10% of the population could have been infected with SARS-CoV-2.



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Panama reopens for US travelers — here’s what you need to know

Oct 9, 2020

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Panama reopens for travelers on Monday, Oct. 12. Here’s what you need to know for a safe, responsible visit.

“Panama is ready to greet travelers once again,” Tourism Promotion Fund Chairman Fernando Duque said Thursday in a virtual press conference announcing the reopening. “Starting next Monday, we welcome visitors from all over the world. There are no countries restricted for travel to Panama — only simple and proven measures to keep visitors and residents safe.”

Indeed, Panama has released one of the most comprehensive reopening guides we’ve seen this year, and precautions appear to be just as thorough to match the attention to detail.

The Central American country will reopen with over 44 air travel routes from various international partner countries, with more to come in following weeks.

Before travel

As Duque stated, travelers of all nationalities are welcome in Panama with the following preparations in place:

  • A negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result taken within 48 hours of arrival time in Panama
  • Completed electronic affidavit of health, agreeing to comply with all local health and sanitation requirements as outlined by the Ministry of Health of Panama; providing information regarding local addresses or whereabouts; and confirmation that the traveler has not been sick or exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days. (The affidavit will be available beginning Saturday, Oct. 10, and can be found here)
  • Health insurance is not a requirement for entry, but is highly recommended.

Upon arrival, travelers should expect:

  • To wear surgical face masks throughout the airport except for momentary identification at security and immigration checkpoints. All face masks must be in optimal condition, and worn properly to cover both mouth and nose. Wet, dirty, or damaged masks must be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Respect social distancing guidelines of six feet or more between people from different households
  • Any PCR test results that are older than 48 hours by arrival time in Panama will require a second COVID-19 test to be administered at Panama’s Tocumen International Airport (PTY) at the traveler’s cost — about $30 to $50.
  • If the rapid test results come back positive, the Panamanian government will quarantine the traveler at no cost to the visitor, for seven days, after which an antigen rapid test will be administered. If it comes back negative, the traveler can carry on but if it returns positive, then the traveler will remain in quarantine until the next result returns negative.

Rules and regulations in Panama

Most of Panama’s requirements follow basic health protocols for COVID-19 prevention. Face masks are required on all forms of transportation, and travelers are encouraged to wash hands, sanitize belongings frequently, cover nose/mouth with the crook of their arms when sneezing or coughing, and so forth, and visitors should expect stringent enforcement of all compliance by local officials. Travelers are also encouraged to utilize electronic payment where possible, take advantage of free hand sanitizer stations, submit to temperature checks by businesses and tourism operators, and to use digital maps and menus where possible in order to avoid cross-contamination through paper.

Additionally, many of Panama’s beaches remain closed to prevent crowding and spread of infection.

Travelers are encouraged to stay within a “social bubble” limited to their travel companions throughout the duration of their stay, as much as possible.

Restaurants are encouraged to accept reservations ahead of time in order to avoid crowds, and all tables must be separated at a socially distanced metric of six feet in each direction. Condiments will be offered in individual package sizes, and no buffets will be open. Menus will either be offered in stand form or digitally through the use of QR codes, and hand sanitizer will be available at the table or in high-traffic areas.

Tours and tour sites will be limited to 50 percent capacity in shared ground transportation vehicles such as cars and buses, and venues are limited to 30 percent capacity and a maximum four people per table. Capacity at the marina is reduced to 25 percent of full capacity to avoid crowds.

Panama has implemented stringent protocols for hotel and public safety. All hotel reception areas will have physical separation barriers such as protective glass or acrylic sheets, while lobbies and waiting rooms will be cleaned three times per day and elevators must be cleaned and disinfected every two hours. Everyone must comply with the maximum capacity limits on elevators, and wait for the next car if the limit has been reached. Hotels can no longer serve food buffet-style; only a la carte in hotel restaurants or via room service.



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Cortizo advierte vienen "meses duros" para Panamá en batalla contra la covid-19

El presidente, Laurentino Cortizo, consideró que no se debe bajar la guardia ante el virus ya que en los últimos cinco días a nivel mundial "los casos positivos han estado aumentando considerablemente"


Presidente Laurentino CortizoArchivo | La Estrella de Panamá

Por EFE Servicios

El presidente de Panamá, Laurentino Cortizo, instó este jueves a la población a tomar con calma el entusiasmo por la reapertura económica y la liberación de las restricciones a la movilidad porque "no se ha ganado nada" contra la covid y vienen "meses duros" en la batalla contra el virus.

El mandatario aprovechó su participación en un acto público para señalar que se está viviendo mundialmente una "crisis monumental, sin precedentes" con la pandemia, y recalcar que en el caso de Panamá "no hemos ganado absolutamente nada con la covid-19".

Panamá intenta una "nueva normalidad" tras haber abierto de manera gradual prácticamente todo el comercio no esencial así como el turismo con el reinicio total, el lunes pasado, de las operaciones del aeropuerto internacional de Tocumen, un importante centro de conexiones regional, tras 7 meses de cierre y restricciones por la pandemia en curso.

Desde el lunes pasado se contemplaba, pero no se dio, eliminar las restricciones de movilidad aún vigentes, como la cuarentena los domingos y el toque de queda nocturno, por temor a un posible repunte de contagios.

Se ha prorrogado sin fecha la prohibición del uso de las playas, aunque Cortizo ha pedido públicamente al Ministerio de Salud reconsiderar esa decisión.

"Así como nos sentimos ahora que hay actividades económicas abriendo y podemos ir a un restaurante", "pronto, muy pronto, las playas, y los domingos muy pronto van estar abiertos", expresó este jueves el jefe del Estado panameño.

Pero al mismo tiempo el presidente consideró que no se debe bajar la guardia ante el virus ya que en los últimos cinco días a nivel mundial "los casos positivos han estado aumentando considerablemente, y hay países que ya están aplicando nuevamente el toque de queda" y confinamientos.

Es decir, según Cortizo, "que no hemos ganado nada, tenemos que cuidarnos porque no queremos regresar a toques de queda o restringir actividades económicas".

"Tenemos meses muy duros por delante, pero vamos a seguir guapeándole (desafiando) al virus, vamos a seguir guapeándole porque los panameños y las panameñas no nos rendimos, entendemos la magnitud de esta batalla, pero qué linda oportunidad en la vida de uno de poder decir estuve en esa batalla de la covid-19 ... y vamos a ganarla", remarcó el mandatario.

Panamá, con 122.128 casos detectados hasta este miércoles del coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 y 2.519 decesos por la covid-19, es el país de Centroamérica más golpeado por la pandemia desde el pasado marzo, cuando se detectó el primer contagio.


Moderator comment: Below is an unedited automated translation of the above news article.


Cortizo warns "tough months" are coming for Panama in battle against covid-19

The president, Laurentino Cortizo, considered that the guard against the virus should not be lowered since in the last five days worldwide "positive cases have been increasing considerably"


President Laurentino Cortizo Archive | The Panama Star

By EFE Services
Updated 10/15/2020 4:38 PM

The president of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, urged the population this Thursday to take calmly the enthusiasm for the economic reopening and the release of restrictions on mobility because "nothing has been gained" against the covid and "hard months are coming" in the battle against the virus.

The president took advantage of his participation in a public event to point out that a "monumental, unprecedented crisis" is being experienced worldwide with the pandemic, and to emphasize that in the case of Panama "we have gained absolutely nothing with covid-19."

Panama is trying a "new normal" after having gradually opened practically all non-essential trade as well as tourism with the total restart, last Monday, of the operations of the Tocumen international airport, an important regional hub, after 7 months of closure and restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic.

Since last Monday, it was contemplated, but not given, to eliminate the mobility restrictions still in force, such as the quarantine on Sundays and the night curfew, for fear of a possible rebound in infections.

The ban on the use of the beaches has been extended without date, although Cortizo has publicly asked the Ministry of Health to reconsider that decision.

"Just as we feel now that there are economic activities opening and we can go to a restaurant," "soon, very soon, the beaches, and on Sundays they will be open very soon," said the Panamanian head of state on Thursday.

But at the same time the president considered that the guard against the virus should not be lowered since in the last five days worldwide "positive cases have been increasing considerably, and there are countries that are already applying the curfew again" and confinements.

In other words, according to Cortizo, "we have not gained anything, we have to take care of ourselves because we do not want to return to curfews or restrict economic activities."

"We have very tough months ahead of us, but we are going to continue to beautify (defying) the virus, we are going to continue to beautify him because Panamanians and Panamanians do not give up, we understand the magnitude of this battle, but what a beautiful opportunity in the life of one of to be able to say I was in that battle of the covid-19 ... and we are going to win it ", remarked the president.

Panama, with 122,128 cases detected up to this Wednesday of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and 2,519 deaths from covid-19, is the Central American country hardest hit by the pandemic since last March, when the first contagion was detected.



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Bars and restaurants in Casco Viejo  caught flouting covid health rules


Leobardo Labrador

Posted 17/10/2020

Ministry of Health (Minsa)  personnel and members of the Joint Task Force in Friday evening inspections in  Casco Viejo, detected multiple floutings of health measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus including a wedding party.

In some places physical distancing rules were ignored, there were people without masks and meetings in bars.

Dr. Leonardo Labrador, head of Public Health of the Metropolitan Region, said that in some restaurants the distance of two meters between tables was not being met and that at this time only the family bubble is allowed and not social gatherings.



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Panama has most Covid-19 cases in Central America as surge looms


Over 6500 tests are conducted daily

Posted 17/10/2020

On October 11, Panama had t 120,303 cases of Covid-19  the most in Central America and the number  increases daily at a worrying rate.

The country also leads the incidence rate of cases in the region: 2,812 per 100,000 inhabitants, which, according to Francisco Sánchez Cárdenas, a member of the Health Advisory Council, is due to an “intense community infection”, reports La Prensa.

On Friday, October 16   the country registered  615  new cases and deaths.

In accumulated cases in Panama is , followed by Guatemala, with 97,715, and Costa Rica, with 87,439.

Panama also  has  the highest incidence rate: 2,812 per 100,000 inhabitants followed by  Costa Rica, with 1,733, and Honduras, with 961 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

In this area, Panama not only leads Central America but  the continent,


In the second week of October the country registered a mortality of 58.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. This figure exceeds the average rate for America, which is 56.9 per 100,000 people, and puts it in first place among the Central American countries according to figures published this week by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

 Francisco Cárdenas, says that as in other countries, as the Panamanian economy opens, the cases will increase.

Therefore, they are preparing the health system so that it can cope with enough hospital beds, massive tests and isolation.

The country current availability of hospital beds in the ward is 42%, and in intensive care units, 40%. That means that in the ward there are 2,239 beds available, while in intensive care there are 242. In addition, throughout the country, there are 550 mechanical ventilators available, out of 817.

The health authorities have recently carried out an average of 6,000  tests daily in and expectsto reach 10,000 tests per day by the end of December or the beginning of January.



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Tocumen International handles 25.000 passengers after reopening


Posted 17/10/2020

After  over six months of inactivity, more than 25,000 people passed through  Tocumen International Airport in the first four days after the reopening of international flights,

According to preliminary reports, between Monday, October 12 and Thursday, October 15, a total of 27,569 passengers used the Panamanian airport including  departures, arrivals and transit passengers

 The Airport resumed activities last Monday with 80 daily operations to more than 20 countries in America and Europe.

Before the restrictions due to the pandemic, around 420 daily flights were registered, to 94 destinations in 39 countries in America, Europe, and Asia.

Virus checks
As part of the measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, three swab stands were set up for  passengers who do not have their Covid-19  negative certificate. The test costs $50 and the result is revealed in about 25 minutes.

On, Friday, October 16, the Ministry of Health confirmed that in five days since  the opening of the airport, 13 people who have tried to nter the country without the test certificate were detected

On the first day of restarting operations, a woman tested positive for the virus  and was moved to a hospital hotel.



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Panama University plans study of Trump-hyped drug


Posted 18/10/2020

The University of Panama Medical School plans a  clinical study of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, hyped by President Trump and used in the country under medical criteria and with the consent of the patient. 

The  World Health Organization (WHO) states that drugs such as hydroxychloroquine (alone or in combination with azithromycin), should be used in the framework of research, in the context of randomized clinical trials that evaluate their safety and efficacy.

However  preliminary results from the WHO Solidarity study, which evaluates the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, and other drugs for Covid-19, show that they do not reduce mortality on caused by SARS-COV 2, he said.

He added that the results of the study have not yet been published and we must wait for full knowledge of it to give a more sustained opinion.

However, he pointed out, the results show that in hospitalized patients there were no effects on overall mortality, onset of ventilation, and length of hospital stay using these drugs.

He stressed that antivirals act in an early stage of the disease by inhibiting entry, duplication, or other viral processes and that these patients in the Solidaridad study were in a more advanced stage of the disease.



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Air Europa retomará vuelos comerciales a Panamá en diciembre

La aerolínea reanudará la conexión el mercado panameño con dos frecuencias semanales para la temporada navideña. Mientras que anunciaron reinicio de vuelos desde noviembre a Bogotá, Medellín, Caracas y La Habana.
Katiuska Hernández
19 oct 2020 - 04:20 PM


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Air Europa resuming Panama flights by Christmas


Posted 19/10/2020

Air Europa will resume flights to Panama in the Christmas season with two weekly frequencies, as part of its plan to re-deploy operations in Latin America. The airline expects to be operating from December 15 with flights on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The airline indicated that they hope to gradually recover the route network in Latin America and before the end of the year they aim to double the number of flights, with an increase in frequencies and the gradual incorporation of new destinations, to increase the offer of available seats. for flights at 72%.

The new schedule includes the resumption of flights with a weekly frequency starting in November to destinations such as Bogotá, Medellín, Caracas, and Havana.

 “From next month, Air Europa will also operate a more weekly flight to Santo Domingo, going from two to three frequencies; and another to Quito and Guayaquil, where it will fly twice a week,” says a statement issued Monday. October 19.

By December, they hope to add an additional weekly frequency in Bogotá, Havana, Buenos Aires, Lima and Santa Cruz in Bolivia. And an increase in routes and frequencies is expected due to the Christmas holidays.

Air Europa reported that it will reactivate its operations to Miami, Panama, Punta Cana, and Salvador de Bahía with two weekly frequencies to each destination. In this way, by the end of the year, the airline will operate in 18 of its 23 American destinations.

The company reported that it plans to complete its entire international network of connections by March 2021



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Redemption date for lottery tickets extended


Posted 19/10/2020

National Charity Lottery (LNB) tickets on sale from  Monday, October 19 replace draw No. 5271  that was to have taken place on Sunday, March 29.

Future  draws will be held in the auditorium of the National Charity Lottery

In a Monday statement, the entity reiterated that it the expiration date of tickets has been extended for 90 days, starting on October 12for the benefit of people with winning tickets and were not cashed in due to the  7-month shutdown caused by the pandemic).

People can redeem their winning tickets at any Lottery office.




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