15 January 2021
El Recreativo

Panama to keep casinos closed until March 15th

(Panama).- Panama capital city and its surroundings will reactivate gradually since next Thursday, when a 2-week total lockdown will conclude. This lockdown will be extended to four provinces in order to curb an explosion of covid cases that has compromised national hospital capacity.

Panama, a country of 4.2 million inhabitants that has already accumulated 4,500 deaths and 281,353 cases of covid since last March, has experienced an aggressive rebound in the disease for more than two months that has led it to set record numbers and placed as the nation with the second highest incidence rate of the new coronavirus on the continent.

Since last January 1, the working day has been suspended and mobility governs by the personal identity number and gender in the provinces of Panama, where the capital is located, and the contiguous Panama Oeste, the most populated and with most cases of the new coronavirus in this country, which has experienced an aggressive rebound since last November.

With this new quarantine - the third since the pandemic broke out - a "sustained decrease in positivity" of the covid was achieved, which went from "29.6% to 23% yesterday," the minister announced this Tuesday in a televised address. of Health, Luis Francisco Sucre.
This result, he added, allows a "gradual and asymmetric reopening" in the capital and its surroundings, through a schedule that will run between January 14 and March 15.
Thus, as of next Thursday, the mobility restriction by identity number is eliminated, but it is maintained by gender for essential purchases, as well as the total quarantine on weekends and the health fence that prevents leaving or entering this area from the interior of the country.

Starting next Thursday, businesses will be able to sell only through online orders and home delivery, technical and professional services will be reactivated, and places of religious worship will be able to receive up to 25% of their capacity.

As of February 1, businesses will be able to receive clients, and they will be able to open beauty salons and barber shops; From February 15, car washes and industries and restaurants can be reactivated, always respecting biosecurity measures.

On March 1, gyms, lottery and racetracks will be able to open, and from the 15th of the same month the beaches, cinemas and casinos.

At the same time, from next Thursday until Monday morning, a total quarantine without working hours will be in force in the interior provinces of Coclé, Veraguas and Los Santos.

In the province of Herrera, in addition to the total quarantine on weekends, mobility by gender will govern and only essential shops will open during the week, for a time that will depend "on epidemiological behavior."

The night curfew is maintained throughout the country, which as of Thursday will be between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Panama faces the "greatest health crisis in the last 100 years", and the covid has "very compromised" the capacity of the system, Sucre said, noting that all these measures to contain the pandemic "may change depending on the behavior of citizens and of epidemiological indicators ».

The restrictions and confinements that prevailed during almost all of 2020 sank the economy of Panama, with a contraction expected between 9% and 14%, according to the Government and local analysts, respectively.

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (CCIAP) told Efe that it estimates that unemployment closed 2020 at at least 20% and informality at 55%.