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Panama airport reopens for international flights and visitors

October 12, 2020

Tocumen International Airport in Panama City on Monday reopened for international flights and visitors.

According to local newspaper La Prensa, the airport expects to handle on its first day 80 operations to or from 36 cities in 20 countries. Some 85% of the shops inside the terminal have also reopened.

As of October 12, nationals, residents and foreigners who enter Panama will be exempted from a quarantine if they present a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR or antigen test from within 48 hours.

People who arrive without a valid test result “will have the obligation” to purchase and conduct a rapid test prior to immigration. Results are ready within 30 minutes, per La Prensa. If that test returns negative, the traveler won’t have to quarantine.

“On the contrary, if the PCR or antigen swab test is positive, the person will go to mandatory isolation in a hospital hotel designated by the Ministry of Health,” the Embassy of Panama explains.

The mandatory isolation will last at least seven days, at which point officials will conduct an antigen test to determine next steps.

These entry measures will last from Monday until at least December 31, 2020, according to the Panamanian Embassy.

An important hub for Central America

Tocumen International Airport in Panama City is the busiest airport in Central America and among the most important in the region.

Due to the coronavirus, Panama suspended all international passenger flights on March 23. However, Tocumen International has since operated as a “mini-hub” for cargo, humanitarian and medical flights.

Tocumen International Airport is also the focus city for Copa Airlines, which flies throughout the region and reported “almost no income” during the early months of the pandemic, according to Reuters.

Panama has confirmed 120,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 2,500 deaths. The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 advisory (Do Not Travel) for Panama due in part to COVID-19.

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