Making Progress …

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Like every place else the Pandemic has been a challenge!  Panama has been very aggressive in response to this new reality.  Our airspace has been closed since March, the only exception being for very occasional humanitarian flights for Panamanians and residents.  Masks are required in public.  Full stop.  Socially distancing in lines, etc. is required.  Taxis and buses have limited occupancies.  In the Panama City there were draconian limitations on public transport.  Businesses were closed, but some are slowly reopening.  Restaurants are only allowed take out, but that hopefully will change over the next few weeks. We have had “dry” periods (zero alcohol) and periods of limited purchases allowed (1 bottle of wine and 1 six-pack of beer).  Happily, we’re beyond that.  There were periods where you were only allowed out for 2 hours to shop for groceries, etc., and it was men and women on alternate days.  The allotted time was determined by the last number of your passport or national ID. Thankfully, we’re beyond that as well.  Right now, Boquete is still under a complete lock down on Saturday and Sunday.  Everyone stays home.  Period.  There are “sanitary fences” between various provinces and districts.  Assembly and groups are limited to 5 people.

All of these restrictions have been enforced.  Naturally, as in any country, the wealthy and pollical elite though they were exempt only to find themselves publicly shamed and out of work when they flouted the rules.

Thankfully, we are making progress.  As of this morning the number of new cases of coronavirus has fallen for seven successive weeks and the Rt (retransmission rate) is at 0.96 which is good news as the ideal is 1 or below.  So very slowly and cautiously Panama is starting to reopen, which is good news for those of us who live here as well as those who would like to live here or just visit this remarkable land as tourists.

With waves of confusion, social unrest and drastic environmental tragedies many people are seeking a different, more tranquil and secure lifestyle and place to live.  Add to this a global pandemic which has forced people to sit back, slow down, and reevaluate their priorities in life.  With our airspace closed now for almost seven months there is a great backlog of folks who want to check out Panama as a place to relocate and create a new life.  Relocation Tours have obviously been shut down and the most popular has waiting lists with tours sold out through the end of 2021.  So, there is great demand of folks waiting for the airport to reopen for international flights.

A number of planned reopenings of Tocumen International Airport have been put off while Panama waited to get Covid-19 under control.  Now, slowly, things are just starting to move back to normal.  This week flights between our local David airport and Tocumen in Panama City have resumed.  The airport is now a tightly controlled “Hub of The Americas” for connecting flights.  There are limited flights for Panamanians and permanent residents to various cities including in the US.  It is expected that international visitors will begin to be allowed as things ramp up in October, subject to a lot of restrictions and qualifications.  How well your home country has doing controlling Covid-10 will determine if you are allowed to enter Panama.  We still have a long way to o, but it is finally encouraging.

So here’s the latest . . .

International flights return to Tocumen October 12

International flights at f Tocumen International Airport will resume  on Monday, October 12 reports the Civil Aviation Authority (AAC)

The  AAC emphasized that the reopening and reactivation of international aviation must be governed by the protocols established by the Ministry of Health (Minsa). Among the sanitary measures is the presentation to the airline of the test certificate of swab / PCR or negative antigens with a maximum of 96 hours, prior to boarding the flight from the country of origin.

Likewise, the passenger must sign an acceptance in the affidavit, provided by the airline, through which undertaking to comply with the sanitary control measures and the use of the application to monitor the appearance of symptoms. and provide the landline of the residence where the quarantine will pass. NEWSROOM PANAMA

[TIP “This Is Panama” – Interesting because we haven’t had land lines in Panama for years!  Unless you had one, no new land lines were available.  But, as is often the case in Panama, things aren’t thought out before making proclamations.]