The Panamanian government announced the return of a quarantine by gender in the capital and in an adjoining province after COVID-19 cases spiked only a week after measures had been eased.
“Starting this Monday, June 8, the mobility restriction measure will be returned by hours according to the sex and ID number in the provinces of Panama and Panama West as previously established,” announced the regional health director, Nadja Porcell.
Panama had reopened construction, non-metallic mining and industry sectors last week in a bid to avoid the economic downturn.
In addition, the gender quarantine — during which for almost two months men and women could only go out two hours a day on different days — had been replaced by a night curfew.
However, Porcell said that the government has been forced to return to quarantine in the provinces of Panama and Panama West, where half of the four million inhabitants of the Central American country reside.
The return to confinement, according to Porcell, is due to the increase in COVID-19 cases over recent days and the failure of the Panamanian public to comply with preventive measures, such as wearing face masks and avoiding crowds in shops and public transport.
Panama has announced 386 deaths and more than 16,000 known cases of the new coronavirus, the worst such figures in Central America. The figure has skyrocketed since Monday, with 42 dead and more than 2,500 infected over six days.
“The health system has not collapsed, but if the behavior observed during this week continues with the increase in the number of cases, the availability of essential resources for the care of the population could be exhausted” such as ventilators, hospital beds or available doctors, Porcell warned.
Despite the new provision, the economic sectors reopened to date will continue their activities. In addition to construction, non-metallic mining and industry, industrial fishing, parts stores, workshops and technical services also restarted operations.