Panama- Emergency Tracking: Migratory Receiving Stations And COVID-19 Pandemic
Since 12 March 2020, Panama has been under a state of emergency, with closed borders, as a result of the measures imposed to contain the virus. Due to the closing of the Costa Rican borders on 16 March, Operation Controlled Flow has been severely affected. Currently, there are 2,528 migrants stranded in the national territory, distributed as follows: 1,982 in the province of Darién (1,697 in MRS La Peñita, 130 in Bajo Chiquito, and 165 in MRS Lajas Blancas), and 540 migrants in the province of Chiriquí at MRS Los Planes. Borders continue to be closed until 22 May according to provisions from the Government of Panama. On 11 May, the Government of Panama announced the plan for the gradual reopening of the country through 6 blocks. The first block, which began on Wednesday 13 May, comprises the reopening of retail businesses through online sales, mechanical workshops, technical services (plumbing, electricity, masonry, among others), and artisan fishing. The start dates for the other phases have not been announced, and the government has stated that they will depend on compliance with the rules and the behaviour of the virus in the coming weeks. As of 14 May, Panama has 9,118 confirmed cases and a total of 260 deaths from COVID-19. In terms of border provinces, Darién reports a total of 195 cases, and Chiriquí a total of 176 positive. Since the
beginning of community transmission of COVID-19 in Darién at MRS La Peñita, no serious cases have been reported; those patients with moderate disease due to the virus have been treated with a protocol of staying in a hotel-hospital in Panama City. At the time of writing this report, 34 positive COVID-19 cases have been reported (6 currently in Panama for being moderate), 22 have been recovered, and 116 remain in MRS Lajas Blancas because of possible contacts. So far, 322 swab tests have been performed in the MRS. The birth of a child was also reported, where the mother and child were treated at the Mother and Child Center in Metetí. In the ERM of Los Planes in Chiriquí, one birth was reported, and the mother and daughter have been transferred and have received appropriate treatment. Two cases of leishmaniasis were also reported in adults and one child, who are receiving appropriate treatment. So far, zero cases of COVID-19 have been reported in MRS Los Planes.