Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Panama order complete lockdown April 11-12, maintain quarantine orders through at least April 15, to curb spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Panama

This alert began 10 Apr 2020 00:59 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least late April
  • Impact: Flight restrictions, transport and commercial disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Panama have ordered residents to stay at home 0001 April 11-2359 April 12, as part of the government's effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials will exempt those working in essential businesses, carrying a government-provided permit, and people with medical emergencies, from the measure.

Panamanian authorities have maintained multiple other restrictions to combat COVID-19. Through at least April 15, officials require residents to stay at home except to purchase food and medication, for one hour (with a half-hour grace period either side), according to the last digit of one's Panamanian residence card or passport, as well as the gender noted on the identification. Women will be allowed to circulate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; men will be allowed to circulate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, except April 11. No one will be allowed outside their homes on Sundays. Persons over the age of 60 will be able to make their purchases 1100-1300 regardless of the last number on their residence card or passport, but still according to their stipulated gender.

These restricted time guidelines for purchasing food and medicine, dependent on one's gender are:

  • Last digit is 7: Allowed out 0700-0800 (including grace period 0630-0830)
  • Last digit is 8: Allowed out 0800-0900 (including grace period 0730-0930)
  • Last digit is 9: Allowed out 0900-1000 (including grace period 0830-1030)
  • Last digit is 0: Allowed out 1000-1100 (including grace period 0930-1130)
  • Last digit is 1: Allowed out 1300-1400 (including grace period 1230-1430)
  • Last digit is 2: Allowed out 1400-1500 (including grace period 1330-1530)
  • Last digit is 3: Allowed out 1500-1600 (including grace period 1430-1630)
  • Last digit is 4: Allowed out 1600-1700 (including grace period 1530-1730)
  • Last digit is 5: Allowed out 1700-1800 (including grace period 1630-1830)
  • Last digit is 6: Allowed out 1800-1900 (including grace period 1730-1930)


People outside their homes for reasons other than obtaining essential goods will be subject to arrest. Exceptions to the nationwide quarantine are limited.

Authorities also earlier banned foreign nationals and nonresidents from entering the country, suspended all commercial passenger flights to and from Panama from March 22, and domestic flights from March 25. All commercial passenger flights are likely to be suspended through at least April 22. Panamanian nationals and residents returning to the country are subject to a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days. The government could expand or extend any of the restrictions currently in place, or implement new measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, with little-to-no advance notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Panama are similar to actions adopted by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Panama Ministry of Health: www.minsa.gob.pa

Government of Panama: Quarantine Order: https://www.gacetaoficial.gob.pa/

Government of Panama: April 11-12 Lockdown: https://www.gacetaoficial.gob.pa/