The government of Panama is continuing to relax COVID restrictions, sending a clear signal that the Panama economy is almost ready to reopen.
This week the Ministry of Health announced that starting May 10 seminars, forums, congresses, conventions, exhibitions, and training events will be allowed with a capacity of up to 25 percent of the capacity of the premises. On May 17, public transportation systems will be able to increase passenger capacity to 80 percent, according to coverage in El Capital Financiero.
More than 230,000 Panama citizens have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, representing about 5.4 percent of the population. But more vaccines are on the way with Pfizer committed to supplying more than 7 million doses. Panama has acquired a portfolio of 9.2 million doses, including 1.1 million from AstraZeneca and another 1.1 million from the Covax mechanism of the World Organization of Health (WHO), in addition to the Pfizer allotment.
This is good news for the country, as we start to emerge from this tragedy. As we’ve reported, in recent months we’ve seen a surge in activity, as buyers from around the world express their confidence in the Panama real estate market and recognize how the market will change once Panama is fully open.
Like many places in the world, it has been hard in Panama, but the government has consistently taken a cautious approach, focused on safety. Rules to stem the spread of COVID-19 will still be in place in the weeks ahead, including the mandatory use of masks will be mandatory in public transportation and other areas.
But Panama has also helped create an example of how the world can begin traveling again. As movement around the world restarted last fall, Tocumen International was at the forefront of testing policies and innovation. In February, Copa Airlines announced that it would be one of the first airlines to work with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on a new “Travel Pass” app to ease travel obstacles during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, there are more signs that traveling is returning to Panama. European airlines have been announcing the restarting of routes, including Iberia which says it will resume 90 percent of its flights to Latin America in the next few months. That will include five flights a week to Panama City.
The cruise lines are also starting to re-engage, with Princess Cruises announcing this week that it is going to deploy the Caribbean Princess, Emerald Princess, Island Princess, and Ruby Princess on Panama Canal itineraries next year, including Panama as part of six itineraries.