MINSA: Press Release #32

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Press Release Extraordinary

Saturday March 28, 2020

Since March 25th, when the National Government, through the Ministry of Health (MINSA), decreed a total quarantine in the country, it was determined that those vessels that did not comply with the required measures could not transit through the Panama Canal, based on the protection policy for Panamanian citizens, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the situation of the Zaandam vessel, COVID-19 advisers and the Ministry of Health, in coordination with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), reevaluated the measure, in accordance with the health regulations, to provide humanitarian aid that allows the ship to continue to its destination. Transit via the interoceanic route will be allowed to proceed so that the ship can complete its journey to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, but with the understanding that no passenger or crew member of this vessel may disembark on Panamanian soil.

This transit will be carried out in coordination with the entities involved and in compliance with all the applicable biosafety protocols.

Panama will guarantee biosecurity measures to protect the personnel who will participate in this maneuver and thus safeguard the health of Panamanians; taking into account that this is a solidarity and humanitarian action in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk that people on board the ship are facing.

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