24 March 2020 – Panama enters national quarantine period, curfew imposed

Type of Intervention: Executive Order, Specific Action
Sectors Involved: Education, Health, Local Government, Police and Interior Affairs, Social Services
Intervention Categories: Social and physical distancing measures; Domestic travel
Level of Jurisdiction: National
Lead People/Agency: President Laurentino Cortio, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Security

Overview: Executive Decree that expands the curfew established in Executive Decree No. 490 of March 17, 2020 and dictates other provisions.
TOTAL CURFEW is imposed throughout the national territory, 24 hours a day, starting at 05:01 am on March 25, 2020, which will remain in effect for the duration of the declaration of a State of National Emergency. (exceptions contained in the decree and those authorized must carry documentation that certifies such permits for circulation)
DRY LAW is imposed, which prohibits the distribution, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages throughout the national territory, while maintaining the state of national emergency. Panama is the ONLY LATINAMERICAN COUNTRY who has established such restriction.
Full details here: http://www.minsa.gob.pa/sites/default/files/general/decreto_ejecutivo_507_de_24_de_marzo_de_2020.pdf

Other links: 1
Type of Justification: Advice of INTERNAL government advisory committee or group, Advice of EXTERNAL expert advisor or advisory committee, Learning from other jurisdictions, Scientific Evidence (e.g. academic paper, report)
Source of Evidence or Justification: World Health Organisation, National – academic, National – government
Evidence/Justification: 29 studies conducted, 10 studies focused on COVID-19, 15 on SARS, two on SARS and other viruses, and two on MERS. Most studies combined existing data to create a model (a simulation) to predict how events might occur over time, for people in different situations (called modeling studies). The COVID-19 studies simulated outbreaks in China, the United Kingdom, South Korea and on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Four studies looked at the effect of quarantine on 178,122 people involved in the SARS and MERS outbreaks (called “cohort” studies). The remaining studies modeled outbreaks of SARS and MERS.

Simulated quarantine measures were found in all modeling studies to reduce the number of people with the disease by 44% to 81%, and the number of deaths by 31% to 63%. Combining quarantine with other measures, such as school closings or social distancing, is more effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 than quarantine alone. The SARS and MERS studies coincided with the COVID-19 studies.

Despite limited evidence, all studies determined that quarantine was important in reducing the number of infected people and deaths. Results showed that quarantine was more effective and cost less when started earlier. Combining quarantine with other prevention and control measures had a greater effect than quarantine alone.

On the subject of dry law, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement denying that drinking alcohol protects against covid-19. Furthermore, the institution made it clear that existing regulations to reduce the damage caused by this substance, as well as restricting access, must be maintained and reinforced during the outbreak: “In confinement during the pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate the vulnerability, risk behaviors, mental health problems and violence ”

Alcohol is responsible for 3 million deaths a year worldwide, a third of which occur in the WHO European Region. Not only is this the region with the highest alcohol intake and the highest prevalence of drinkers in the population, but it is also the region with the highest prevalence of alcohol use disorders in the population and the highest share of deaths caused by alcohol, among all deaths.