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Lessons from Panama’s Pandemic Response

Fortunately, in Panama we had a very quick response to the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to this, we were able to prepare effectively and be recognized by the UN.

Schools and workplaces were closed on March 12 when there were just 14 confirmed cases and a nationwide quarantine began on March 25. We  were the first Latin American country to introduce defined outdoor hours for shopping and medical purposes based on ID numbers and sex. 

Panama was also the first country in the region to develop a digital hub that allowed ministers and legislators to conduct government affairs online and was quick to introduce telephone lines and online services for citizens.

“We’ve been monitoring the situation since January. Looking at how other countries were dealing with the virus, we set up our Coronavirus action table on Super Bowl Sunday (in February),” said Oscar Ramos, the government’s communications secretary. “Preparation is key to dealing with changing circumstances.”

Here we share with you the five lessons that Panama had in response of the Coronavirus, according to the UN:

  1. Get ahead of the event and don’t underestimate the risk.
  2. Think of possible scenarios and build a support team.
  3. Quickly mobilize resources.
  4. Share experiences with countries and work as a subregion in Central America.
  5. Place the issue on the United Nations agenda and share information between different agencies.

We are proud to be part of such a cautious and supportive community. Hopefully, these steps will help us return to our normal routines and activities very soon.

CNN, Americas Quarterly and UN

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