Authorities announced on Tuesday, July 21, that Panama will further reopen its economy in areas of Los Santos, Herrera, and Coclé from Monday, July 27, as the country gradually lifts restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Car dealerships, private construction businesses, and companies providing administrative or professional services will be allowed to resume operations. Despite the economic resumption in some areas, Health Minister Luis Sucre stated that total quarantine restrictions will be imposed on Saturdays and Sundays in the provinces of Colón, Chiriquí, and Bocas del Toro from Saturday, July 25, due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in these areas.
Panama's civil aviation authority announced that they have extended the suspension of international commercial flights until at least August 22, due to the rise in the number COVID-19 cases in the country. The suspension was originally due to expire on Wednesday, July 22.
Authorities in Panama implemented more stringent lockdown rules on Thursday, July 16. In Panama and Panama Oeste provinces, a weekend curfew is now in place between 19:00 on Fridays and 05:00 on Mondays (local time). Additionally, unless individuals fall under one of the quarantine exemptions, women are permitted to leave their residence on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while men are permitted to leave their residence on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On those days, residents are permitted to leave the house for one hour to shop for food, medication, and other essentials according to the last digit of their passport number. Details are as follows:
- 0 - 10:00 - 11:00
- 1 - 13:00 - 14:00
- 2 - 14:00 - 15:00
- 3 - 15:00 - 16:00
- 4 - 16:00 - 17:00
- 5 - 17:00 - 18:00
- 6 - 18:00 - 19:00
- 7 - 07:00 - 08:00
- 8 - 08:00 - 09:00
- 9 - 09:00 - 10:00
As of July 22, there have been 55,153 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, and 1159 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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