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 2,518 migrants stranded in the national territory, distributed as follows: in the migrant stations of the province of Darién there are 1,669 in MRS La Peñita, 106 in Bajo Chiquito, and 202 in MRS Lajas Blancas. Furthermore, there are 541 migrants in the province of Chiriquí at MRS Los Planes. Borders continue to be closed until 23 July.
At the Darién province, the sanitary fence is maintained in the community of Agua Fría and in the village of Yaviza, the latter being, according to data from the Ministry of Health (MINSA by its Spanish acronym), the 15th village in the country with the highest number of cases of COVID-19. As of 18 June, Panama has 23,351 confirmed cases of which 9,094 are active cases; and a total of 475 deaths. In terms of border provinces, Darién reports a total of 696 cases, and Chiriquí a total of 767 positive cases.
In the context of COVID-19, in recent weeks there have been protests by migrants in the different MRS in both provinces. This week, during the monitoring of shelters, 3 incidents of violence were identified: one took place in MRS La Peñita, another in MRS Los Planes and the third (which was more serious), happened in MRS of Lajas Blancas, where 4 migrants were injured, and 18 migrants were removed from the MRS.
Since the beginning of community transmission of COVID-19 in Darién, 3 positive cases have been recorded in the community of Bajo Chiquito, 10 cases in MRS La Peñita have been transferred to MRS Lajas Blancas, and 8 cases with moderate virus disease have been managed under a stay-at-hotel/hospital protocol in Panama City. At the time of writing this report, 180 cases have been recovered and 10 possible contacts have occurred in MRS Lajas Blancas. So far, 318 swabs have been taken.
A small change in the health situation is reported at MRS of Los Planes de Gualaca in Chiriquí; two people require specialized health care; one has a stomach abscess and the other requires dental maxillofacial surgery. Both manifest that they do not have the resources to cover the surgery. The adults and the child with leishmaniasis continue under medical treatment. Zero cases of COVID-19 have been reported at MRS Los Planes.