Panama has so far recorded 1,181 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths. The Central American country, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica, has gone into mandatory lockdown to halt the spread of the virus.
Panama has taken unprecedented measures to flatten the pandemic curve, as its containment efforts are to alleviate hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The government announced on Tuesday that new strict quarantine measures would be gender-based:
Starting on Wednesday, men and women will only be allowed to leave their homes for two hours at a time, and on different days, reported AFP.
Las mujeres podrán salir lunes, miércoles y viernes, y los varones, martes, jueves y sábado, y el domingo no se permitirá salir a nadie, indica el ministro de Seguridad Juan Pino, al detallar que se mantiene la regla del número de cédula o pasaporte. pic.twitter.com/HSIxPwLLoM— Tráfico Panamá (@TraficoCPanama) March 31, 2020
The Central American country's lockdown, until now, was not based on gender.
"This absolute quarantine is for nothing more than to save your life," security minister Juan Pino said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Men will be able to visit the supermarket or the pharmacy on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. As for women, they're allowed to travel to stores on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
As for Sundays, the holiest day of the week, no-one will be allowed to go outside.
The new gender-based lockdown is scheduled for the next two weeks.
Pino said more than 2,000 people were detained last week for violating the national curfew.
Panamanian Public Forces were seen taking temperature readings of people and handing out food during the quarantine.
Unidades del @senafrontpanama remiten a nueve Nicaragüenses a @migracionpanama luego de que fueran ubicados de manera ilegal en el corregimiento de Breñon, provincia de Chiriquí. Al momento de las detenciones se les aplicaron todos los protocolos sanitarios. #ProtégetePanama pic.twitter.com/SKCsemSBJq— Ministerio de Seguridad Pública de Panamá (@MinSegPma) March 31, 2020
While countries across the world are taking unprecedented measures to prevent the virus spread, it seems Panama's gender-based lockdown is undoubtedly a new one.
We noted last week that much of the world remains in the accelerating period of the virus curve. And with lockdowns being extended across Europe and the US, it’s likely that many Central and South American countries will follow suit.