MINSA: Press Release #57

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Tuesday April 21, 2020
Government takes economic steps as a response to COVID-19

The Ministry of Health (MINSA) reports that, in accordance with Executive Decrees 500, 507 and 541, all reactivation, operation and mobilization of companies must be approved by MINSA. The temporary closure of commercial establishments such as shopping malls, cinemas, bars and gyms remains in effect. 

At the same time, laundries, savings and credit cooperatives, as well as agricultural and agroindustrial cooperatives, may operate through the respective safe-conduct passes managed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI), IPACOOP and the Government Innovation Authority (AIG). 

Based on health data, a decrease in the rate of virus infections to 1:1 has been reported in some areas of the country. That is, each infected person only infects one other person, but it is necessary to wait at least ten more days to see if this continues or decreases before recommending gradual lifting of quarantine measures. 

The president, Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, in a message posted on his Twitter account, said that “the economic team, together with the health team gave me a first draft [of a plan] for the gradual reopening and return to a new normal. Decisions based on scientific evidence and quarantines are giving results.”

Plasma for use in the fight against COVID-19

The MINSA reiterates to the population the request to collaborate in the blood donation processes, even more so now that Panama is participating in research related to the use of convalescent plasma in the treatment of COVID-19 positive patients. 

The first volunteer to donate plasma and contribute to the fight against COVID-19 will be the Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepción. 

In relation to the epidemiological follow-up of the sanitary measures applied at Minera Panamá, the team led by deputy ministers, Luis Francisco Sucre and Roger Tejada met with company representatives to verify compliance with the established provisions. 42 patients with respiratory symptoms were swabbed, and this company was urged to comply with sanitary regulations. 

Quarantine violations

The Minister of Security, Juan Pino, said that in the last 24 hours 601 people were detained, and stressed that there are sectors of Panama City, western Panama and San Miguelito, which insist on violating the curfew and alcohol ban. He noted that in the Piña sector, the driver of a truck and his assistant tried to pass a checkpoint. They did not have safe conduct passes and when they were checked the police found 5 packages of an alleged drug. 

Contributions to the Social Security Hospital (Caja de Seguro Social, CSS)

The deputy director of the CSS, Francisco Bustamante, declared that the institution understands the economic situation, but made a call to cancel commitments with social security, since this will help continue the delivery of medicines, pay pensions and maintain hospitals. 

He explained that the 14,000 retirees who were accredited to collect their pensions by debit card will be able to withdraw money from ATMs beginning during the next fortnight after all technical problems have been resolved. 

This fortnight, the CSS will disburse USD $60 million to 290,000 retirees and pensioners. 

Panama Solidarity

Deputy Minister Carlos Rognoni, spokesman for the Panama Solidarity Program, reported that products such as chicken, pork, beef, papaya, pineapple and oranges have been included in the bags. 

486,081 food bags and 348,972 bonds have been distributed. 

Today, Tuesday, April 21, 4,821 accumulated cases are reported.163 are new. 231 people have recovered and 141 are deceased. 4,094 people are in home isolation; 261 patients are hospitalized in the wards and 94 in intensive care units. 

On the last day, 467,728 bags and 276,282 bonds were delivered to various parts of the country. 

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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