UPDATED: August 26, 2020
Day 169 since the first Covid19 case.
As of August 25th, Panama has identified a total of 88381 Covid19 cases (2.06% of the population)
- Total tests conducted: 313,342
- Tests conducted on August 25: 4907
- New cases identified on August 25: 896
- Positive test results: 18.26%
- Total hospitalized: 1553 (including 153 in ICU)
- Total deaths: 1919 (2.17% fatality rate)
- Total active cases: 23,703
- Positive test results: 24.75%
- Daily new case growth: 5.14%
- Active case growth: -0.11%%
- Active Cases: 25,172 on August 16, 2020
- Positive Tests (14-day average): 36.47% on July 18, 2020
- Daily Active Cases Growth (7-day average): 7.69% on June 26, 2020
Cases by Location
The Ministry of the Presidency site has a great map that allows you to dig down to see how many cases are in each province, region, and city.
Click on the map for the province, then click on the + symbol in the text windows to keep digging down. Here is the link.
Gov’t & Other Announcements
As of August 24th, the restriction of movement by cedula number and gender in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste is eliminated, except as follows. The curfew (7 pm – 5 am) will remain in force. Also, Sundays will have a total quarantine.
On August 25th, the Panama government announced an updated reopening plan! Starting September 7th and over the next few weeks, many of the Covid-19 movement restrictions will be removed and economic sectors will reopen. It even looks like International flights will really happen again – starting October 12th.
Panama Coronavirus-related Restrictions
These restrictions will start to change on September 7, as the newly updated reopening plan starts to unfold. Click here to learn more.
- Only Panamanians and Legal Residents can enter the country. Upon entry they must:
- Have proof of a negative COVID-19 test made 48 hours before arriving in the country
- Fulfill 14 days of quarantine upon arrival in Panama
- Sign a declaration that they will obey the Panama Protegete Plan (that is, Panama Plan to Protect You). That means you will comply with Panama’s Covid-19 safety regulations.
Panama is providing limited exceptions to allow non-citizens or legal residents to enter the country for emergencies. If you believe you have an urgent need to enter Panama, contact the nearest Panamanian Embassy or Consulate. If you need to fly out of Panama, there are also a few humanitarian flights and seats on various flights that transit through Panama as part of Panama’s new “Humanitarian Hub”. Contact airlines directly to book.
- You must wear a mask at all times when outside your home and practice social distancing. Any individual not wearing a mask is subject to possible detention and fine.
- As of August 24th, the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste had their restriction of movement by cedula number and gender eliminated. So people in those provinces are now allowed to go out during the day, as long as they are wearing a mask and social distancing.
- Except for Sundays. There will continue to be a total quarantine on Sundays in those provinces
- Work permits that are expiring between March and September 2020 will be extended as follows:
- Expires in March – extends to Sept.30th
- Expires in April – extends to Oct. 31st
- Expires in May – extends to Nov. 31st
- Expires in June – extends to Dec. 31st
- Expires in July – extends to Jan. 31st
- Expires in August – extends to Feb. 28th
- Expires in Sept – extends to Mar. 31st
- Moving within the country is only allowed with a special permit called Salvo Conducto.
- Individuals moving from home to rent a new home or because they purchased a property should travel with documents proving this. That is a copy of the rental or purchase agreement, utility bills, receipts, etc. These documents will act as your salvoconducto.
- Immigration applications are still being processed for people who came to the country before the borders were closed.
- Panamanian authorities are not planning to introduce a remote visa application system.
- Notaries and public registry have kept operating and all real estate purchases and/or sales are processing without major issues
- Good news for those with an expired driver’s license – validity is extended.
- Effective June 22, the Government of Panama authorizes the distribution, sale, and consumption of alcohol across the nation, lifting previous purchasing limits. Alcohol must be sold in sealed containers and is intended for home consumption only. However, if you live within a sanitary circle, this new alcohol policy does not apply. For people within a sanitary circle, you are still limited to purchasing a 6-pack of beer, or a bottle of wine, or a bottle of liquor at one-time.
- As of June 8, Panama’s National Immigration Service (SNM) started a 90-day period during which foreigners may submit applications to maintain or adjust their immigration status in Panama without incurring fines. This applies to applicants whose immigration status expired between March 13 and June 7. Additionally, documentation previously authorized by SNM that expired any time between March 13 and June 7 will remain valid for a period of 3 months. This does not apply to bank references and health certificates, which must be updated. Applicants whose document expired at any time outside of the window of March 13 to June 7 will need to update their migration status and will be subject to the applicable fines.
Per usual, tourists in Panama have 3 months to either leave the country or begin a new migratory process with SNM.
- SNM is now open and taking new applications and appointments. However, due to rules established by Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA), they will only be operating at 25% capacity.
- SNM’s office hours: 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.
- MINSA called on everyone, especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood. Contact a local hospital or blood donation center to donate.
- Panama immigration services are suspended until May 15th. All residency permits (temporary or permanent) expired since March 13, 2020 are valid until May 15, 2020.
- As of May 6th, hardware and auto parts stores, laundries, and agricultural cooperatives are considered essential businesses. You can make your orders to hardware stores only by phone or digitally. They also have restricted hours: Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon, and home deliveries will be at the same hours, but only on Monday and Thursday.
- Effective immediately, rental evictions and rent increases are suspended. Executive Decree No. 145, suspends eviction procedures of Ministerio de Vivienda y Ordenamiento Territorial (Miviot), or the Ministry of Housing and Land Management. This is effective for the duration of the state of national emergency and for two months after it is lifted. It covers contracts and leases for residential real estate, commercial establishments, professional, industrial, and educational activities. This does not mean that rental payments during the duration of national emergency and two month period afterward are not still owed. The payments are frozen, not forgiven. Also, no interest or late fees can be applied during this time period. Proprietors that suspend the supply of electricity, water, gas, and other services will be penalized according to Law 93 of 1973. If the tenant’s income has not been affected by the health crisis, he or she should honor the contract and if not, can also be sanctioned under the same Law 93. (effective as of May 2).
- After the National Emergency is over, a tenant who refuses to pay the landlord the rent he has failed to pay during that period will be sanctioned.
- The President announced a moratorium/suspension of payments for 7 months, until Dec. 31, 2020, for various loans & credit card payments. Specifically for 1) Residential mortgage loans, 2) Personal loans, 3) Credit card payments, 4) Auto loans, 4) Small and medium business loans, 6) Commercial loans, 7) Transportation sector loans, and 8) Agricultural sector loans.
- For qualified people who have been impacted by the state of emergency, Bill 295 temporarily suspends payments of public services such as electric power, land and mobile telephone, and the Internet for 4 months starting March 1, 2020. The payments are still owed and the amounts due for that period would be prorated to be paid over 3 years.
- Resolution 383 of April 3, 2020 – the Panama Social Security (Caja del Seguro) suspends fines, surcharges, and interest for late submission or late payment of worker’s monthly salaries for the months of February, March, April and May 2020.
- All Panamanians and residents with E-Cedula that had their contracts legally suspended with the Labor Office will have $80/mo automatically available on the barcode of their cedulas. (effective May 2, 2020)
- Until further notice, the US Postal Service will not accept mail bound for Panama due to service disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These service disruptions affect Priority Mail Express International® (PMEI), Priority Mail International® (PMI), First-Class Mail International® (FCMI), First-Class Package International Service® (FCPIS®), International Priority Airmail® (IPA®), International Surface Air Lift® (ISAL®), and M-Bag® items. (effective as of April 3)
- Panama is part of a World Health Organization (WHO) study. The goal of the study is to discover the most effective treatment against the coronavirus. They will be testing the efficacy of four drugs in treating patients affected by the virus. According to the Minister of Health, Panama was chosen because of the transparent way in which it has handled the information related to the pandemic.
- Americans overseas, including American expats in Panama, are eligible for the coronavirus aid in the Coronavirus stimulus bill that the US Congress passed on March 27th. Check out this post for details.
- If you are doing due diligence or various official tasks, you can still access the public registry online. Public notaries are allowed to be open, but most closed. Some are open alternate day and some are available online.
Coronavirus Assessment, Treatment & Testing
The MINSA call center uses a virtual assessment tool, R.O.S.A., to help combat the pandemic. R.O.S.A. stands for Automatic Health Operative Response. The call center works 24 hours a day to attend to people who present any symptoms of COVID-19. Their rapid response teams are also available to make 2 to 3 calls a day to travelers for epidemiological observation.
The Ministry of Health has launched a new Covid19 monitoring app called “Protégete”. This app should improve the direct monitoring of COVID-19 positive patients in the country and relieve pressure on the traditional reporting systems (169 telephone hotline / R.O.S.A. WhatsApp system).
The Vice-Minister of Health stated that mental health is an important component of the Panama Solidarity Plan. Those requiring consultations with psychologists and psychiatrists from the Ministry of Health and the CSS can access help via the 169 hotline, the R.O.S.A. system on Whatsapp or by calling 523-6813 of 523-6846 (Spanish only).
Contact R.O.S.A one of 2 ways.
- Call 169. This phone line will connect you to a call center that is manned by rapid response teams (consisting of a doctor, a nurse, a police officer). They will ask you a series of questions. Based on your answers they will decide on the next steps for you.
- +507 6997-1234. This WhatsApp number will ask you a few questions to determine if you need to speak with a doctor. If yes, the doctor will then determine if you need a rapid response team at home, an ambulance, or some other measure.
- If you have Whatsapp, you can also contact ROSA via this link. This allows you to text. Very helpful if you need to use Google Translate in order to communicate in Spanish.
Only call 911 if you are critically ill and in need of urgent care.
Don’t have the coronavirus, but want to talk with a doctor virtually, call the number below.
- Call 199
Coronavirus test kits have been distributed to public hospitals in all the main population centers throughout Panama. Additional test kits are on order. Some kits will be distributed to private hospitals as well. It typically takes 72 hours to get the result of your test.
When It Started In Panama
The first case of the Coronavirus in Panama was discovered on March 9, 2020. A Panamanian woman, who had flown back from Spain the day before, started feeling ill. She went to the hospital, was tested, and was immediately put under quarantine at home.
The next day, March 10th, the first death due to the Coronavirus in Panama occurred. The gentleman who died was a director of a high school in Panama City. He was 64 years old and a diabetic. He died from virus-associated pneumonia. In addition, 2 teachers from the same high school were hospitalized in intensive care.
4 Sources – Online Tally of Covid19 Cases
- For information on cases in Panama, check this Geosocial website. It updates once daily. It provides info by areas of Panama, the number of people hospitalized or at home, and data on the number of people tested.
- This site has a great graphic representation of the coronavirus information. You can search the site for information on other countries as well. Here is the epidemic-stats website link with Panama info.
- The Worldmeters website is a good resource for worldwide info on the pandemic. It also updates once a day.
- An early coronavirus website, gives up-to-the-minute worldwide, country, and in the case of some counties like the US and Canada, by state or province tally of coronavirus cases. It also offers information about the virus, symptoms, and how to keep healthy as well (click “wiki” in menu for that info). The site was created by a junior in Seattle-area high school. Click for an interview with him.
Panama Gov’t Daily Update Source
Official government press conferences and presidential addresses are presented daily at 6:00 pm on local Panamanian news channels (TVN and Telemetro). Recordings can also be viewed online at https://www.tvn-2.com/pass/tvn/ (Spanish only).
World Health Organization (WHO) Info
For more information on the coronavirus, check out the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website.
WHO also has a Whatsapp group, click this link to join.
All information in this post comes from reliable news sources or directly from Panamanian government sources.
Your comments and input are appreciated.