Monday 28 November 2022

Panama reopens air borders for tourists after closed for seven months

First flight arrived from Miami with 157 passengers, of which 38 were tourists. Panama requires COVID-19 test or be tested at the airport upon arrival, with results in 30 minutes

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QCOSTARICA – Panama, on Monday, October 12, reopened its air borders to international flights with tourists, after keeping them closed for seven months due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The first flight to touch down was from Miami, U.S., with 157 passengers, including 38 tourists. They were greeted with Panamanian flags and typical dances at the Tocumen international airport, 15 kilometers northeast of Panama City.

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“My boyfriend lives here, I haven’t been able to see him in a year. We had planned to travel in March but everything was closed, so it took us seven months to meet,” Californian tourist Chelsy told AFP.

“We booked the first flight we could because we have been waiting months for the borders to open and we are very excited,” Kate Davini, also a US tourist, told AFP.

Panama closed its air border on March 22, three days after Costa Rica.

“Today (Monday) Panama restarts its international operations taking a fundamental step for regional connectivity,” said the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) on its Twitter account.

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“It is a day of hope for Panama,” said Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo, who participated, at the Tocumen airport, in the christening ceremony of a COPA Airlines flight.

The first flight from Europe arrived Monday afternoon, KLM flight from Amsterdam with 158 passengers.

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Until this Monday, Panama allowed the arrival of international flights in transit, but without allowing its passengers to enter the country.

Passengers entering Panama without a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen test result issued at most 48 hours before departure are subject to a COVID-19 test at the airport, at their own expense, with results in 30 minutes.

Panama requires a negative COVID-19 certificate or be tested at the airport with results in 30 minutes In the photo, Panama president, Laurentino Cortizo, inspects the airport COVID-19 testing area. Photo  Twitter

Testing positive for COVID-19, the passenger must comply with the biosecurity protocols decreed by the Ministry of Health, which includes mandatory isolation in a hospital hotel designated by the Ministry of Health. At seven (7) days will have an antigen test. If the result is positive, they must complete the fourteen (14) day isolation.

In the coming days, Tocumen will see 80 daily operations, compared to the 400 in March.

For now, daily flights will be to 36 destinations in America and Europe with 7 airlines, although three other airlines could restart operations before the end of the year.

With four million inhabitants, Panama has the highest number of infections in Central America by COVID-19, with more than 120,000 infected and 2,491 deaths.

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