New Covid Regulations announced for Panama

With testing centers filling up in Panama, the ministry of health has new Covid-19 regulations, reducing quarantine time for people with three doses of the covid-19 vaccine, and promoting home testing

Monday, January 24, the Ministry of Health announced the new regulations, which were communicated through Executive Decree 5 of 2022. 

For positive cases of covid-19 in Panama, the isolation time is now seven days. It also says that on the fifth day, an antigen can be performed and if this result is negative, you can resume your activities, go outside and return to work. But, If on the seventh day, the test continues to show a positive result,  isolation is ten days (like before). 

The Ministry of Health also announced that people should use home tests, however, it is unclear if the tests they are requiring are available in Panama. 

La Prensa writes " Regarding the self-applied or homemade tests, these must be endorsed by the Gorgas Memorial Institute. Currently, they are not marketed in Panama, but their use is very common in the United States, where President Joe Biden even authorized half a million of these tests to be distributed among the population last week." 

Despite this, it seems that many schools and workplaces will now require those who present symptoms of covid-19 to present a test with a negative result to continue their usual routine and work, without being quarantined. According to the decree, a positive test should go to a swab center (public or private) for an antigen or PCR test.

The new regulations are also taken into account vaccine status. 

Those who do not have the "complete vaccination schedule (two shots and a booster) need to quarantine if they have been in contact with someone who has covid-19, even if they do not present symptoms. While someone who’s had three doses, who has had direct contact with someone with covid-19 does not.

Finally, everyone must be tested on the fifth and last day of quarantine.