Friday 24th June 2022.

June 24, 2022


According to the epidemiological report of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) this Thursday, in the last 24 hours, three deaths were reported due to covid-19. With these new deaths in the country, there is a cumulative total of 8,335 deaths for a lethality of 0.9%. In Panama, according to the report, there are 2,130 new cases, 10,815 tests were applied for a positivity of 19.7%. While the active cases are 16,758 throughout the country. Of the active cases, a total of 16,527 are in isolation and 231 hospitalized. Those who are in isolation are divided into 16,511 in their residences and 16 in the so-called hospital hotels. Meanwhile, those hospitalized are 193 in the ward and 38 in the intensive care units.

According to the latest vaccination report from the Ministry of Health (Minsa), 51.5% of the population over 16 years of age already have the first booster dose (third dose) against covid-19 . Panama began the vaccination process against the new coronavirus in January 2021 and to date the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) of the Minsa registers 8 million 361 thousand 377 doses administered. Of that amount, 3 million 482 thousand 854 correspond to first doses, 3 million 114 thousand 178 are second doses and one million 617 thousand 688 are first reinforcement doses.

In the 2021 annual report of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), it was highlighted that journalistic work was hampered in Panama and judicial mechanisms were activated against journalists. Although the report highlighted that the country “guarantees the right to freedom of expression to a large extent in 2021,” the Office of the Special Rapporteur received reports of threats to the media and to journalists. The Office of the Rapporteur also received reports of various attacks and “intimidations” against journalists for exercising their profession, especially against those who were being investigated in corruption cases.

The Ministry of the Environment (Miambiente) reported this Thursday that a technical commission selected the short lists that will be presented to the Executive for the appointment of the director and deputy director of the Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology of Panama (IMHP). In a statement from Miambiente, it is detailed that the commission delivered to the head of the entity and president of the board of directors of the Institute, Milciades Concepción, the short list for both positions.

The commercial movement of the Colon Free Zone (ZLC) continues to grow month by month, moving away from the 20% drop reported by the commercial complex in 2020 due to the mobility restrictions implemented due to the respiratory pandemic of the coronavirus. In the first four months of the year, the ZLC reached 6 thousand 798 million dollars, exceeding by 13.5% the 5 thousand 988 reported in the first quarter of 2019. Between January and April, imports totaled 3,314 million dollars, while re-exports closed at 3,484 million dollars. The data indicates that the ZLC was not affected by the confinement decreed in the city of Shanghai due to the increase in positive cases of covid-19. China is the main supplier of the second largest free zone in the world, with approximately 46% of the activity, followed by the European Union, with 11%, Singapore, with 6%, and the United States, with 5.9%. On the other hand, Venezuela in recent months has become the main destination of merchandise leaving the ZLC, with more than 8.6%; followed by Costa Rica, which receives 7.8%; Colombia, 7.2%; and Chile, with 6.1%. Panama keeps part of this merchandise and 7.3% is sold locally. In 2021, imports and re-exports totaled $18,640 million, which meant a drop of 0.9% compared to 2019, but represented an increase of 29% against the movement of 2020. The sale of electronic, pharmaceutical, chemical, perfumery and cosmetics, clothing in general, common metals and alcoholic beverages remain among the main drivers of growth in the free zone.

Economist Felipe Chapman said Wednesday that the country’s permanence on discriminatory lists “is going to affect everybody.” He pointed out that it will be increasingly difficult for high-quality companies to make investments and create jobs in the country and, failing that, lower-level companies will arrive that will demand high returns on their capital and consequently will charge high prices, they will not have problems submitting to corruption and they will not have a good work culture. “Is that what we want as a country?” asked the economist.

The Ministry of the Environment highlighted this Thursday afternoon, June 23, that officials from the Metropolitan Region will investigate the fuel spill off Perico Island, in Amador. The investigation in this case began after a citizen complaint. Subsequently, the staff of the Metropolitan Region will present “the technical report” to define the responsibilities of the case.

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