The crisis of the new coronavirus has had a brutal impact on the world economy. This, of course, is also palpable in Panama, which is still suffering the hardest part of the health crisis caused by COVID-19.Without a doubt, and as the experts say, the most difficult part will be to reverse the confinement without a resurgence of the disease because of the crowds.
A phased de-escalationFollowingthe example of European and American countries where the impact of the pandemic has already begun to wane, Panama will undertake a phased
de-escalation. It will try to gradually break out of confinement in order to get the economy back on track. This is a need that is becoming increasingly evident in a country with serious risks, and it is especially important to do so with caution, since Panama has recorded the most serious figures for both the number of infections and deaths from COVID-19 in all of Central America.
This is despite the fact that, since March 25, the country has been completely confined. According to Julio Sandoval, an advisor to the country's health ministry, the number of infections, ICU admissions and deaths has increased at least threefold.
The phases of de-escalationIn the first phase of de-escalation of confinement in Panama, all businesses related to the agricultural sector, logistics and retail trade will be able to open. In addition, the construction sector will begin to be put into operation so that, already in the second phase, mining, industry and housing sales and rentals can be allowed. Therefore, it will not be until the third phase that activities related to tourism and leisure can be developed again.
This would also include sport, hotels, restaurants, bars and other catering establishments. The same will be true of the on-site gambling venues. This is not a very good picture, since there is evidence that the coronavirus has devastated the casino business in Asia and Europe, and this is particularly bad for a sector which, since 2021, had already lost 4.2 per cent of its income, but which still makes a significant contribution to the public purse in terms of taxes. This has been the case despite the upturn in business brought about by the boom in sports betting.
We will have to wait until the end of this fateful 2021 to know exactly what the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been, but a strong impact is predicted. A
return to normalcy is still a long wayoffIn short, it seems clear that, for Panamanians, a return to normalcy is not yet near. There is a lot of work to be done and, moreover, the health and public health risks are still there. Therefore, we must face the end of confinement and the return to productive activity with all possible caution.
Only in this way can the chances of a new and fatal outbreak be minimised.