Panama Eases Entry For Vaccinated Travelers

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It’s being reported that Panama’s government has relaxed arrival procedures for vaccinated travelers coming into the country. Although the country’s borders have been open with conditions, those with ‘the complete vaccine’ will not have to undergo a swab test on arrival. Instead, arrivals will need to present proof of vaccination. Other sources note that a negative COVID-19 test is required for entry.

Copa Airlines is the main carrier of Panama. The carrier has 12 737 MAX jets and 62 737-800s. Photo: Copa Airlines

Avoiding a swab on arrival

According to The Panama Star (La Estrella de Panamá), travelers who have a “complete vaccine” against COVID-19 will not have to undergo swabbing when they enter the country. Presumably, a complete vaccine represents two doses for certain vaccines- although some types only require a single dose.

“Those people who have their doses set, even if they come from other countries, do not need to swab or carry out traceability, because those people must already have immunity in an adequate state,” – Luis Francisco Sucre, Head of the Minsa (Ministry of Health, Panama), via La Estrella de Panamá.

Tocumen International Airport is the main airport of entry for travelers to Panama. Photo: Joao Carlos Medau via Flickr 

Country reopened to tourists in February

According to Travel Pulse, Panama officially reopened to tourists last month. It noted that this was thanks to fairly low rates of positive COVID-19 results. Additionally, the country has reported having one of the best vaccination rates in Central America.

There’s still some ambiguity around the news for vaccinated arrivals. According to Panama’s tourism website, it’s also noted that visitors must present a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. The website doesn’t appear to have any mention of exceptions for fully vaccinated arrivals – either prior to flying or upon landing.

This is what the country’s tourism site has to say in terms of travel requirements:

  • Travelers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama.
  • If a test is not possible within that time frame, a COVID-19 rapid test will be mandated at the airport before customs, and the traveler will have to cover the costs of said test. (USD$ 50).

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The site adds that health insurance is not a requirement for entry but is highly recommended. Additionally, arrivals must complete some paperwork in the form of an Electronic Affidavit (sworn statement) agreeing to:

  • Comply with all sanitary control measures outlined by the Ministry of Health of Panama.
  • Provide localization information for residence while in Panama.
  • Confirm that arrivals are healthy (no symptoms of any respiratory illness) and that they have not been exposed to COVID-19 within the last fourteen (14) days.
An employee of Panama’s sanitation service is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 Photo: Getty Images

Current restrictions within Panama

Traveling to Panama? Travel Pulse notes that masks are required in all public spaces.

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As of the publication of this article, beaches, rivers, pools (in social areas as well as hotels), and parks are open for visitors only during “mobility hours.” In the provinces of Panamá, Panamá Oeste, Coclé, Veraguas, Los Santos and Herrera, beaches are only open from 06:00 to 17:00.

Most aspects of “tourist life” are reportedly open. These include:

  • Restaurant dining
  • Gyms, spas, movie theaters, and casinos
  • Shops, beauty salons, barbershops, and daycare centers
  • Other non-essential industries and cultural industries

With precautions and enhanced cleaning in place, it looks like Panama, and its resorts may be the ideal vacation destination – especially for vaccinated travelers.

Do you have plans to take a vacation to a sun destination anytime soon? Let us know in the comments.

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