Panama- Emergency Tracking: Migratory Receiving Stations and COVID-19 Pandemic (19-25 june 2020)

Idiam Osorio,
Period Covered
Jun 19 2020
Jun 25 2020
  • Mobility Tracking
  • Event Tracking


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 2,520 migrants stranded in the national territory, distributed as follows: in the migrant stations of the province of Darién there are 1,674 in MRS La Peñita, 106 in Bajo Chiquito, and 35 in MRS Lajas Blancas. Furthermore, there are 705 migrants in the province of Chiriquí at MRS Los Planes. Borders continue to be closed until 23 July.

On June 25, IOM held a high-level meeting with the Director of the National Migration Service (NMS) to review various issues related to the situation of the MRS and their infrastructure improvements. The projects planned to improve the areas where migrants are located on both borders and the services they currently provide, as well as areas of cooperation between the institution and the organization.

During the period from this report, 168 migrants were transferred to MRS Los Planes from MRS Lajas Blancas. This transfer complies with quarantine protocols for suspected cases, and with the recovery process of positive COVID-19 cases. This transfer was made possible through the inter-institutional coordination between the National Border Service (SENAFRONT by its Spanish acronym) and the National Migration Service (NMS) under protocols established by the Ministry of Health (MINSA by its Spanish acronym).

As of June 25, Panama has registered 29,037 confirmed cases, of which 13,673 are active cases; and a total death count of 564. In terms of border provinces, Darién reports a total of 986 cases, and Chiriquí a total of 849 positive cases.

Since the beginning of community transmission of COVID-19 in Darién, 3 positive cases have been recorded in the community of Lajas Blancas and 60 positive cases in MRS La Peñita. Patients with moderate virus disease have been managed under a stay-at-hotel/hospital protocol in Panama City. At the time of writing this report, 3 positive COVID-19 cases (5 currently in Panama for being moderate) have been confirmed, and 60 migrants among suspects and positive COVID-19 cases in La Peñita, 22 recovered and 9 possible contacts in MRS Lajas Blancas. So far, 95 swabs have been taken. This week there were 2 births in the Yaviza Maternal and Infant Center, which at the time of the report remain stable.

In MRS Los Planes de Gualaca in Chiriquí, the health situation has not changed that much. Two people continue to require specialized health care, and they declare that they do not have the economic resources to access medical services. The adults and the child with leishmaniasis continue under medical treatment. On Wednesday, a child with a fever was evacuated and hospitalized. At the time of writing, studies are underway to determine his medical diagnosis.