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Coronavirus Info

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adminee
3/2/2020 08:49 EST

We are starting a thread for expats in Panama to share information and concerns about Coronavirus. If you would like to post an update and let others know what is happening in your area, we encourage you to do so. What type of precautions are being taken at airports? medical facilities? schools? If you are being told by authorities to make any preparations, what are they telling you.

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pgcwashdc
3/8/2020 18:26 EST

Just wanted to bump this up to the top as most of what is being reported in the media is pretty heavy with hyperbole. Thinking of traveling to PC sometime in the next few months and wondering what the locals are seeing/experiencing. From the outside looking in, it seems like Latin America has been spared the worst of this virus situation, at least so far.

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ranadelnorte
3/8/2020 21:13 EST

Not exactly sure what you see as hyperbole in the situation regarding COVID-19 in Panama.
First, there are no cases of the coronavirus in Panama as of today, March 8. There are 800 people under observation who have returned to Panama from high-risk areas (China, South Korea, Iran, Italy).
Here are the steps Panama has taken to prepare for the virus:
-The Minister of Health, a medical doctor, holds daily press updates, so the situation is transparent.
-She has named a task force comprised of medical specialists, logistics experts, and military police to prepare for any outbreak.
-Two public hospitals in Panama City have been designated to receive any cases requiring hospitalization.
-The country has an adequate supply of testing kits (the accurate ones from Germany), and personnel were trained abroad in their use.
-A call centre (#169) is operating to address any questions from the public.
-Public service announcements abound about proper personal hygiene measures. People on the street in Panama City are careful about greetings (handshakes, kissing).
-Disinfection has been stepped up at Tocumen airport, and commercial fishing ports.
-Airport and port staff screen passengers/crew arriving from heavily affected areas.
-Crew on vessels transiting the Canal must remain onboard.

If you are planning a trip to Panama, consult travel advisories issued by the government in your homeland.
I repeat, there is no coronavirus to date in Panama, but that could change at any time. Your choice whether you wish to take the chance on travelling during a world-wide epidemic.
Good luck!

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pgcwashdc
3/9/2020 00:37 EST

Just to be clear, my comment about media hyperbole was not directed at Panama in any way. It was a general statement about the way many natural disasters, including disease pandemics, are often reported.

In fact, I've seen very little in the (US-based) media about COVID-19 in Latin America, with the exception of a general preparedness briefing given by the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, DC. Getting a sense of the situation from the local perspective was the intent of my post.

About official travel advisories, I've lived and traveled in various parts of the world when others advised against it. So I much prefer gathering the facts on my own and taking things from there. In that sense, the information you provided was very helpful. Thank you.

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DChidley
3/9/2020 01:43 EST

Thanks for the good report, lots of info!

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tiredofsnow
3/10/2020 18:16 EST

Thanks for the info folks.we live in Canada and are considering relocating to Panama and just as the other person has said we have heard no news at all about how things are going In any country below the u.s.we hear more news from Canada and the world in general from BBC uk than we do from news stations/ papers in Canada..thank you again folks.

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panamajames
3/11/2020 00:59 EST

There are some newspapers and publications in Panama on line that you can view. Some in English but you can use Google Translate to help you with the better choices such as La Prensa and La Estrella etc. Here is a list where you can pick your favourites.

https://www.w3newspapers.com/panama/

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ranadelnorte
3/11/2020 10:53 EST

Coronavirus update.
Panama had its first diagnosed case of COVID-19 on March 9, a Panamanian returning from a trip to Spain. She is doing well at home, visited daily by a public health nurse.
On the other hand, a 64-year-old man has died of the virus. He was an educator and had been in contact with many who had travelled to Europe recently. Nobody knew he was sick with COVID-19, because of his underlying health problems. He had been treated in an ICU.
So it seems the genie is out of the bottle in Panama, now with 8 confirmed cases, and 66 potential cases due to the contacts of the man who passed away.
In consequence, the Ministry of Health has banned large public meetings, markets, and sporting events in the city, and closed schools until early April in the districts of Panama Norte, Panama Centro, and San Miguelito.
In other developments, the Ministry designated a third public hospital, Santo Tómas, to receive patients, in addition to San Miguel Arcangel and Susanna Jones hospitals. The ministry also carried out an inventory of all ICU beds in the city, and is negotiating with private hospitals over their acceptance of COVID-19 patients should the need arise.
In summary, this is a very dynamic situation all over the world.

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dumluk
3/11/2020 13:29 EST

As of todays morning newspaper Panama has just experienced its first Corona related fatality. And I forget the number of people being treated for it now and more under observation. Its here......It has arrived. Panama is not immune.......Costa Rica as of yesterday had Nine infected, 3 Americans and 1 in very grave condition under quarantine in the hospital in S.J.

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panamajames
3/12/2020 14:33 EST

As of Thursday March 12th 2020, there are a number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, multiple cases of related pneumonia, including at least one death. Schools are mostly closed as well as most activities that will draw a crowd, including the Tuesday market in Boquete. At the Costa Rican border today, they are all wearing masks and are taking people's temperature as they cross the border into Panama. The roads are mostly clear of traffic. People are choosing to stay at home, and that includes shopping at the local food markets. Hardly anyone there. Here is part of a news article and the URL is to follow: "Coronavirus has killed one person and there are seven more confirmed cases in the country, two of the, in intensive care and 66 under surveillance said Panama’s Minister of Health, Rosario Turner at a Tuesday, March 10 evening press conference." https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/school-closures-follow-one-death-and-7-confirmed-coronavirus-cases In other news..........Tom Hanks, a Hollywood star who, for many, feels like a pal, struck a chord across America’s celebrity-obsessed culture when he announced Wednesday that he and his actress wife both tested positive for coronavirus while on a shoot in Australia for an upcoming Elvis Presley biopic. As it stands now, there are 1,050 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 29 people have died in California, Florida, New Jersey, South Dakota and Washington. However, as of Saturday, only about 1,500 people in the U.S. had been tested, and health experts have said the magnitude of the outbreak is likely much greater than that. The price of gold dropped 3% as the coronavirus continues to affect the stock market.

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PedasiPundit
3/12/2020 14:57 EST

I was at the Tuesday Market in Boquete this week and it was going full bore, not closed. The death rate for children 10 and under in China was ZERO, The majority of deaths were in the 70+ population and there was an article about a woman that is 103 years old recovering from the Virus, so there is some good news. The Sky is NOT falling and the hysteria is greater than the true threat as reiterated by many in the "Health Fields." Yes, some countries like Italy have a BIG problem with the Virus, but finally, acknowledge that and have initiated massive changes to stop the threat. Be calm, Wash your hands often and stay away from large gatherings, simple but effective measures to self protect.

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BoqueteGirl
3/12/2020 18:25 EST

Hello All,

Just an update from the U.S. We are here and staying home bound. This is a VERY serious matter as I'm sure you all know. We do not scare easily, but this is extremely scary. Especially to us Ole Fogies with underlying illness's.

If you are considering travel, be aware,,,there is a strong possibility that they will be closing down travel in and out of this country. They just announced from the white house that they are considering closing ALL borders inside the U.S. It has not been done as of 6:00 PM 3/12. If the outbreak gets worse (which is likely) that will be there next step. They are cancelling all sport events, and concerts, etc. We are being hit real hard right now. If you do not have to travel,,,,,DON'T...

I am a very optimistic person, but I don't mind saying this is scaring the S**t out of us. You can get current info on us on any credible news station on line. My only problem is I truly believe that the man in the white house waited too long and down played this event to the point that we now need to be very worried.

Everyone be safe and use good judgment and common sense. My heart goes out to all of you.

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jonoyakker
3/12/2020 18:38 EST

Yes, for older folks with underlying health issue, it is my understanding that it is a very serious issue. I don't blame you!

Besides avoiding crowds and washing hands, a person can strengthen their immune system like this: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

I think its wise to consume plenty of vitamin C, don't consume additional sugars, and consider anti viral foods and supplements.

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dumluk
3/13/2020 00:06 EST

Probiotics not anti biotics......strong immune system is the key to staying healthy, not vaccinations......IMHO........stay country, avoid city.......which is normal custom and practice for me anyway......

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ptyexpat
3/13/2020 18:56 EST

Public Safety Advisory

The Presidency of the Republic of Panama has declared a state of national emergency related to COVID19.

Additionally information provided the Districts Attorney’s Office in David which is part of the Public Ministry indicated that they were called upon to force three uncooperative individuals described as North Americans residing in and around Palmira Alto Boquete into mandatory medical observations and possible treatment for Corona Virus.

Also a retirement aged man described as North American died in his home located in the upper part of Volcancito Road Alto Boquete and is under investigation for possible links to Corona Virus.

It should be understood that the greater Boquete area with its cool, damp climate coupled with frequent international traveling of the large North American population residing in Boquete is an ideal environment for the COVID 19 virus to thrive and spread.

Panic buying of disinfectant chemicals and domestic commodities have been observed in David so if you need to stock up on basic essentials and medications now would be a good time.

Those who may be at higher risk are advised to limit your travels to Boquete or any other affected areas in Panama until the threat of this growing COVID 19 epidemic has been naturalized.

If you are a citizen of the Unites States please carefully read the advisories posted on the US Embassy’s web site located in Panama-

https://pa.usembassy.gov

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Malaberian
3/13/2020 21:36 EST

Too bad you have no facts in evidence. Just like another person who told me this past week the number of confirmed cases was much higher than the official record. Funny thing is, it still is not there..

Perhaps it would be prudent to stop watching Schitts Creek, otherwise that is where you will be without a paddle.

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