U.S. Embassy in Panama – COVID-19 Information

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The U.S. Embassy is compiling a list of people seeking to leave Panama. Any U.S. citizen in Panama requesting travel assistance should send an email to PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.govView the U.S. Embassy in Panama’s most recent Alerts & Messages

Index:

Panama-Specific Information
Details on Movement Restrictions
Possible Repatriation Flights
Entry and Exit Requirements
Quarantine Information
Local Resources
Other links


Panama-Specific Information:

On July 21, the Panamanian Ministry of Health announced 55,153 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Panama.

  • MINSA reminds citizens and residents of Panama that staying at home, not touching your face, and washing your hands frequently are the best means of prevention against COVID-19.  It also requires the use of masks, even homemade ones, when in public.
  • Beginning Monday, July 27, businesses in Los Santos, Herrera, and Cocle provinces will be allowed to open businesses of car sales, private construction, and professional and administrative services. All businesses must meet biosecurity requirements.
  • On July 21, the Government of Panama announced total quarantine in the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Colon, and Chiriqui on Saturdays and Sundays. The curfew from Monday through Friday remains from 7pm until 5am.
  • On July 17, the Government of Panama extended the suspension of international commercial passenger and domestic charter flights, originally announced on March 26, for an additional 30 days beginning July 22. The previous exceptions for cargo, humanitarian, medical supplies, medical evacuation, and vaccines remain in place. Please scroll down on this page to the section Repatriation Flights for detailed flight information. 
  • On July 8, MINSA announced that Green Frog brand alcohol gel has been pulled from the market due to the content of toxic methanol.  To report the sale or distribution of this product, call 512-9163 or 512-9170.
  • 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.  This change does not affect those areas that are under a health cordon.  For more information, see the official decree at https://www.gacetaoficial.gob.pa/pdfTemp/29050_A/78826.pdf.
  • The government announced that the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste will return to movement restrictions based on gender and ID number, starting on June 8. Please scroll down on this page to the section Details of Movement Restrictions.
  • For all other provinces: The quarantine and two-hour movement windows were replaced by a curfew from 7 pm to 5 am, Monday through Sunday.  Children are also free to move about from 4 pm to 7 pm, accompanied by a parent, guardian, or caretaker.  The use of masks and social distancing are still required.  This new flexibility does not permit social group activities, cultural events, festivals, visits to the beach, contact sports, or any other activity that violates social distancing. 
  • Effective June 8, Panama’s National Immigration Service 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.  For more details see www.migración.gob.pa.
  • On June 2, the Government of Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) published a resolution stating that anyone leaving their residence must be wearing a mask that covers their nose and mouth.  Any individual not wearing a mask is subject to possible detention and fine.
  • Starting on June 1, the Government of Panama opened the 2nd economic block: public construction, mining of non-metals, industry, and religious sites, parks, social areas, and sporting areas will be allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity. The Government of Panama announced a gradual plan to reopen the economy beginning May 13. For details, see the infographic in this tweet from MINSA. The dates for opening additional business blocks remains unknown.
  • MINSA called on the entire population, especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate blood. Contact a local hospital or blood donation centre if you’re interested and willing to participate.
  • MINSA also announced on June 4 that a health cordon has been declared in the district of Chiriqui Grande, and in the communities of Pantanal and Finca 1 in Changuinola, and Solución in Bocas del Toro.
  • Schools and universities are closed nation-wide until further notice.  Sporting events, festivals, and all gatherings larger than 50 people, as well as public spaces and venues, have been banned.  Visit the local government COVID-19 website for updated information.
  • U.S. government personnel are restricted from non-essential domestic and international travel and must adhere to the national quarantine.

Details on Movement Restrictions:

Effective July 17, MINSA established new quarantine hours for the Panama and Panama Oeste provinces. Total quarantine begins on Friday at 7:00pm and ends on Monday at 5:00am. There is also a curfew from 7:00pm until 5:00am Monday through Thursday. Movement in these provinces remains restricted based on gender and ID number. Gender restrictions allow for movements as follows:

  • Women: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Men: Tuesday and Thursday.

These movement restrictions allow for a two-hour window, intended only for essential purchases, based on the last digit of each individual’s cedula number or passport number if an individual is not a citizen of Panama.  U.S. Citizens in Panama should always carry their passports, and their Panamanian cedula if they have one. The two-hour windows are as follows:

  • Last number is 7 – 6:30 – 8:30am
  • Last number is 8 – 7:30 – 9:30am
  • Last number is 9 – 8:30 – 10:30am
  • Last number is 0 – 9:30 – 11:30am
  • Last number is 1 – 12:30 – 2:30pm
  • Last number is 2 – 1:30 – 3:30pm
  • Last number is 3 – 2:30 – 4:30pm
  • Last number is 4 – 3:30 – 5:30pm
  • Last number is 5 – 4:30 – 6:30pm
  • Last number is 6 – 5:30 – 7:00pm
  • Beginning July 20 in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste, private sector employees are required to enter their places of employment by no later than 8:00am. Public sector employees are required to enter by no later than 9:00am.
  • There is a special window for those over 60 years old, regardless of cedula or passport numbers, between 7:00am and 10:00am (gender restrictions still apply).
  • Normal exceptions apply for holders of permission letters (salvoconductos).
  • Parents may take one child per family outside near their home or in the social areas of their apartment building during the two-hour window of the accompanying parent.
  • Exercises such as bicycling, running, and skating are permissible if done within one kilometer of your home, with a mask, and inside your two-hour window.

The Government of Panama still maintains security checkpoints on the roads and prohibits most interprovincial travel.    

For all other provinces, the quarantine and two-hour movement windows were replaced by a curfew from 7 pm to 5 am, Monday through Sunday.  

  • Children are also free to move about from 4 pm to 7 pm, accompanied by a parent, guardian, or caretaker. The use of masks and social distancing are still required. 
  • This new flexibility does not permit social group activities, cultural events, festivals, visits to the beach, contact sports, or any other activity that violates social distancing.
  • The Government of Panama still maintains security checkpoints on the roads and prohibits most interprovincial travel. 
  • The Embassy encourages everyone to prepare accordingly.  Take the opportunity to stock up on any medicines and food supplies you may need to shelter in place in your homes for an extended period of time.

Possible Repatriation Flights:

Location: Panama     

Event: Planned Commercial Humanitarian Flights    

The Embassy has identified three upcoming humanitarian flights with seats available.  Any traveler with the appropriate passport/visa to permit entry into the United States is eligible to purchase a ticket.  Travelers should carefully plan their onward travel as hotel options may be limited.  Once in the United States, all domestic travel arrangements are the sole responsibility of the traveler.    

The upcoming humanitarian flights are:   

  • July 24 United Airlines flight UA1033 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m.  
  • July 29 Copa Airlines flight CM4978 to Dulles, VA, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 9:00 a.m.  
  • July 31 United Airlines flight UA1033 to Houston, TX, departing Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport at 12:30 p.m.

For additional information about these flights and to make reservations, visit the respective websites of the airlines, Copa and United.  Flights that appear to be sold out may have openings due to cancellations.  Continue checking directly with the airlines for any openings.        

The Embassy encourages interested U.S. citizens and legal residents to purchase early and forward your purchase confirmation email to the Embassy immediately at PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov so that we can assist you with the issuance of salvoconducto passes.  You may also email this address if you are unable to make the currently scheduled flights but would like to be informed about the next humanitarian flight.  Please be aware that future flights are not guaranteed, and those who choose not to depart on these flights should prepare to remain in Panama indefinitely.     

Consult the Embassy’s website (https://pa.usembassy.gov/) for additional information on the situation in Panama and the Department of State’s COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.  

The Embassy is continuing its efforts to identify possible repatriation flights. 

Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • As of March 22, Panama suspended all international commercial flights in and out of Panama.
  • On June 17, The Government of Panama extended the suspension of international commercial passenger flights to July 22. 
  • The U.S. Embassy is compiling a list of people seeking to leave Panama. Any U.S. citizen in Panama requesting assistance should send an email to PanamaCityUSCitizen@state.gov
  • On Thursday, March 19, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory.
  • As of March 13, all cruise ship passengers are banned from disembarking in Panama.

Quarantine Information:

  • The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) requires that ships coming from countries with a confirmed case and with a crew member exhibiting symptoms must notify the ACP at least 30 days before its arrival and of any crew changes within 14 days of arrival. In the event a crew member is a confirmed COVID-19 case, the vessel will not be permitted to transit and must quarantine for 14 days.  Preventative measures for such ships include, but are not limited to:
  • boarding of vessels by health authorities in order to investigate any cases
  • use of personal protective equipment, such as masks;
  • holding the vessel in quarantine as a precautionary measure.

Local Resources:

  • For updates from the Republic of Panama’s Ministry of Health response and resources on COVID-19, go to (in Spanish):  https://yomeinformopma.org/
  • Inquiries about COVID-19 can be directed to:
  • Ministry of Health hotline in Panama (169).
  • Department of Epidemiology Dra. Lourdes Moreno (507-9100).

Source: U.S. Embassy in Panama.

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