Panama has been very proactive in fighting the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Panama but in a month we went from zero to 1300 cases. Panama has tried a variety of things to slow down the spread of the virus.
Initially, Panama closed their borders to travelers from China and Europe. But once Panama got their first case, a teacher who had traveled to Italy and the virus started spreading worldwide, Panama closed their borders to any and all travel in to the country. Later in March, Panama closed their borders completely to also prevent anyone from leaving the country to hopefully prevent the spread of the virus.
Every day the Ministry of Health (MINSA) and President Cortizo send out announcements encouraging people to stay home and practice social distancing. They also offer instructions about how to prevent catching the virus.
In early March, Panama enacted a curfew from 9pm to 5am in hopes it would stop people from hanging out together and spreading the virus. They also banned all alcohol sales which seemed to upset people more than the curfew.
But when that didn’t slow down the spread of the virus, Panama quickly went to a 5pm to 5am curfew to hopefully slow down the spread of the virus in Panama.
When that did not work, they changed to a new curfew that you could only leave your house for 2 hours a day based on the last number of your cedula (National ID card) or for foreigners the last number of your passport. People who are 60+ could only go out from 11-1 each day and only go out to a grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, bank or doctor.
Because the number of new cases of the virus kept going up, we currently have 1400 cases and 37 deaths, Panama enacted an even stricter quarantine. The majority of the Covid-19 cases in or near Panama City. There has been some looting in Panama City but for the most part, everyone is handling the curfew well. There have been 7914 tests for the Covid-19 virus.
New Curfew Rules
Now, women are permitted to leave their house on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during their designated times. Men are allowed to leave their house on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during their designated times. No one can leave their house on Sunday.
Long before Panama had any cases of the virus, they ordered millions of test kits, masks and other personal protection equipment. Elon Musk, of Tesla, has donated 1250 ventilators to Panama to add to the hundreds they already have.
Panama set up a special hotline number to call or Whatsapp if you think you have the Covid-19 virus. After asking a series of questions, if they determine that you might have the virus, they will send a doctor or nurse to your house to perform the test. They do NOT want people going to the hospital or doctor’s office if they think they have the Covid-19 virus. If the doctor thinks it is necessary for you to be hospitalized, they will make the arrangements for an ambulance to transport you. Ninety percent of the people who test positive are able to stay home and the doctor follows up with you daily.