MINSA: Press Release #39

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Friday, April 3rd, 2020
MINSA reinforces capacity to analyze tests with new diagnostics center

This Friday, a total of 198 new COVID-19 tests were performed, of which 30 have been analyzed at the new sampling center in Amador. The patients who came to this laboratory were referred by ROSA and the 169 hotline. This new facility, enabled by the Ministry of Health (MINSA), has the capacity to take between 160 and 200 samples daily.

The MINSA arranged for another facility arranged to carry out the test and care for people who have symptoms of COVID-19, referred by the 169 hotline, is the National Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, located on the Centenario Road, which is serving the public from 7:00am until 6:00pm.

The strategy for monitoring patients with COVID-19 has been strengthened by enabling "hospital hotels" in Santiago, Veraguas province; Panama City and David, Chiriquí, that are treating 255 patients nationwide.

Security Minister Juan Pino insisted on the importance of complying with the absolute quarantine ordered by the authorities. He reported that 500 people were detained on the street in the last 24 hours: the sectors with the highest incidence being in Western Panama, with 130; Panama City, with 104; and San Miguelito, with 100. Coincidentally, the same areas remain the most affected by the virus, with the highest number of infections. He sent a message of solidarity to the family of first corporal (rank awarded posthumously) Abel Ábrego, of the National Border Service (SENAFRONT), who died as a result of the new coronavirus.

Dr. Rodrigo De Antonio, a member of MINSA’s Advisory Council, and director of Panama’s Vaccine Research Center, presented projections of the spread of the new coronavirus in the country. Through graphs and statistics, he showed how the measures taken so far have reduced the contagion rate and thus have safeguarded the national public health system. At the same time, he called for strengthening compliance so that the country can reach its peak in the next 13 days.

Ramón Martínez, Minister of Commerce and Industries, reported that with the Ministry of Security and the National Police, the protection of mini-supermarkets and grocery stores has been strengthened, and called on citizens to take care of this important link in the national supply chain. He announced an agreement with 35 finance companies—the largest in the country—for the 90-day postponement of monthly bills, without consequences for people’s credit references or late fees. However, he called for those who are able to pay to do so.

Similarly, the National Government will start a disinfection process in Panama City, in alliance with a private company. The water that will be used in this process is not potable, it comes from artificial lakes in Panama province.

The Directorate of Public Procurement, the governing body for public procurement, has established an expedited purchasing system to guarantee the acquisition of all supplies, goods, equipment and public works that the health system requires to address the situation of this pandemic. It has the controls that the law requires to guarantee the correct and transparent use of public resources.

A Manual of Procedures for Procurement in a state of emergency has been distributed that all State institutions are obliged to comply with. Any process that does not comply with these measures will be suspended by independent processes. They invite citizens to report irregularities through fiscalizacion@dgcp.gob.pa and the telephone line: 515-1515.

Epidemiological report

Until this Friday, April 3, 13 people have recovered (mostly women, and a six-month-old baby). 198 new cases have been detected, for a cumulative total of 1,673 positive cases.

1,406 patients are quarantined at home. A cumulative total of 213 patients are in the  hospital, of which 141 are in the wards and 72 in the Intensive Care Unit. 41 deaths are reported.

All of the official information regarding the novel coronavirus in Panama and the actions that the national government has taken are communicated on MINSA social media accounts and on the web pages (www.minsa.gob.pa and https://yomeinformopma.org/ ). They are also available on our hotline by dialing 169 or WhatsApp number 6997-2539.

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