In view of the coronavirus infection which has engulfed several countries, the government of Panama on March 31 announced strict quarantine measures that separate citizens by gender to slow the spread of the deadly pandemic. According to the new guidelines, both men and women will be allowed to step out of the house for two hours at a time and on different days.
This is the first time that the government has imposed such gender-wise restrictions as before this the quarantine regulations had no such conditions. As a part of the guidelines laid before the citizens, men will be allowed to go out to the supermarket on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, whereas the women will only be allowed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Sundays will be a complete lockdown for every citizen. Addressing this serious issue to the people, security minister Juan Pino reportedly said in a press conference that this absolute quarantine is to protect and save the life of every citizen. According to the reports, more than 2,000 people were detained last week for not following the quarantine rules rigorously.
The administrator of the Panama Canal said that two Holland America Line cruise ships completed their journey through the waterway on March 30 on their way to Florida, and he said that the coronavirus infection was the cause of death for at least two of the four people who died on the Zaandam ship.
Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez said that only two people boarded, one in each vessel, and no other personnel nor tugboats were used in the operation. The pilots who led the Zaandam and Rotterdam through the locks will be placed under a 14-day quarantine period.
The Zaandam, which left Argentina on March 7 with some 1,800 passengers and crew, had been denied entry to South American ports and was stranded off Panama for several days until the Central American nation decided to permit it to cross the canal.
Several hundred passengers were transferred on Friday to a sister ship, the Rotterdam. Officials in Florida, however, have expressed alarm at the planned arrival of the ships following confirmation of at least two COVID-19 cases aboard the Zaandam.