Friday 27 January 2023

Panama opens its land borders to tourists

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27 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Panama’s immigration service announced the reopening of land borders, for the entry and exit of Panamanians, residents, and foreigners, under strict sanitary measures.

As long as the State of Emergency is maintained, national and foreign passengers must comply with the sanitary measures established to contain covid-19.

Executive Decree No. 61, of January 8, 2021, establishes the sanitary measures that those (nationals and foreigners) who enter Panama must comply during the State of National Emergency.

Article two indicates that Panamanian citizens, residents, and foreigners, who intend to enter the country, must comply with the biosecurity measures recommended by the Ministry of Health (Minsa), and present a negative PCR of not more than 48 hours or antigen test certificate at the air, sea and land entry points, prior to entering the country.

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In addition, it establishes penalties with fines ranging from US$501 to US$5,000 dollars to those who incur the following behaviors: reoffending of biosafety measures, violation of sanitary fences or checkpoints, circulation of people determined to be suspected of covid-19 that are subject to quarantines and are found in supermarkets, transportation stations or places and areas of massive concurrence, circulation of people diagnosed as positive with covid-19 who transit outside the ordered place of isolation.

Panama’s immigration explained on Friday, January 29, that, though the Executive Decree has been in force since its publication in the Official Gazette on ​​January 8, 2021, and it has proceeded with the reopening of land borders for the entry and exit of nationals and foreigners.

While this is great news for Costa Ricans and residents, not so much for the many who reside in Costa Rica as non-residents – the so-called “perptual tourists” – who make a “border run” to renew their visa or temporary visitor status – as Costa Rica maintains its land borders (with Panama and Nicaragua) closed to the entry of tourists.

Panama has been hard hit with the coronavirus. Although the country does not have the highest deaths it does report the highest accumulated cases.

Central America

  • Population: 50.5 Million
  • Reported Cases: 882,450
  • Deaths: 18,928

By Country:

  • Panama, population 4.35M, reports 320,379 infections and 5,270 deaths
  • Costa Rica, population 5.1M, reports 193,276 infections and 2,604 deaths
  • Nicaragua, population 6.6M, reports 6,253 infections and 169 deaths (officially, though the real numbers are estimated at from 7 to 10 times that)
  • Honduras, population 9.9M, reports 147,843 infections and 3,610 deaths
  • El Salvador, population 6.5M, reports 55,195 infections and 1,632 deaths
  • Guatemala, population 18.1M, reports with 159,504 infections and 5,643 deaths
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