Wednesday 16th March 2021.

March 16, 2022


The Ministry of Health (Minsa) reports, this Tuesday, March 15, that in the last 24 hours, 323 new positive cases of Covid-19 were registered. To detect the new infections, 6,915 tests were carried out for a positivity of 4.7%. The Minsa epidemiology report notifies a new death and update two from previous dates, for a cumulative of 8,143 deaths and a lethality of 1.1%. Active cases total 2,386, of which 2,251 are in home isolation and 135 remain hospitalized. The report details that there are 2,224 patients at home and 27 in hotels. While 119 people are confined in rooms and 16 in an intensive care unit.

The possibility that Panama faces a rebound in Covid-19 cases – due to Carnival or the start of face-to-face classes – is “unlikely”. This was considered by Eduardo Ortega Barría, National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation and who is also an advisor to the Panama Covid-19 Vaccine Research Consortium. In the last seven weeks, the country has experienced a significant drop in cases of the virus and health authorities emphasize that it is coming out of the fourth wave of the pandemic. “In Panama, almost 100% of what circulates is the Omicron variant and the incubation period is very short; The carnivals are over, I don’t think there will be a rebound or a fifth wave,” said Ortega Barría.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reiterated this Tuesday, March 15, the neutrality of the waterway based on the treaty that is in force and that establishes that it is a route open to international trade. During the appearance before the Public Infrastructure and Canal Affairs Committee of the Assembly to support the ACP’s 2021 annual report, the Minister for Canal Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Arístides Royo , said that the Panama Canal is neutral and the flags of all countries are welcome. Regarding neutrality, the Canal administrator, Ricaurte Vázquez , who supported the 2021 Canal report, added that 7 Russian ships transited the Panama Canal last year, but stressed that the movement of ships from that country through the waterway is relatively low.

Given the increase in fuel prices, which will affect the cost of living, Panama should look for price stabilization systems that work as buffers during item increases. This was stated by Jose Ramón Icaza , president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, who stated that these systems would serve at times of peak prices, such as the current increases in gasoline and diesel. Icaza recalled that more than a year ago in the country there was a reduction in fuel costs, a situation that should have been used to create a trust to use it to stabilize prices.

The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, said that Panama will send a formal request to the United States to review some aspects of the Trade Promotion Agreement (TPC), especially those related to Panamanian dairy and meat. Cortizo explained that his administration will prepare a note that will be addressed to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and the person in charge of the US Trade Office to request a review of the aforementioned aspects of the TPC. Last week, the charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in Panama, Stewart Tuttle, declared that the US does not intend to “renegotiate” the TPC. According to Tuttle, the issue of renegotiation is not on the table, and he emphasized that the United States has not received a formal request from Panama to renegotiate the agreement. “Besides, we don’t think it’s fit.”

A clandestine dental clinic, located in Club X, Betania, was dismantled by the Panamanian authorities. During the search proceeding, a person was apprehended, who allegedly cared for patients without the proper operating permits and without being qualified to practice the profession. Deputy Commissioner Jorge Domínguez said that in this action an alleged illicit substance was also seized.

The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo , said this Tuesday, that he has not reviewed the list of consultancies carried out in his government administration. This, after La Prensa reported that from July 1, 2019 to date, his government has spent $213.5 million in consultancies for dozens of public entities, according to information from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).

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