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Panama Canal protocols for safe return

Protection measures that we have taken against COVID-19 to guarantee the safety of our collaborators and facilities.

Panama Canal Authority



January 29, 2020

TO: All Shipping Agents, Owners, and Operators
SUBJECT: 2019 new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is concerned with the recent outbreak of the 2019 new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which has generated an International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) Advisory.

The signs and symptoms associated with the infection with this virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and in more severe cases, it could lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

The average incubation period for the Coronavirus is approximately seven days, and infection from human-to-human may occur during the incubation period, before the infected person shows any signs of illness. Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Germany, Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, United States of America, France, and Australia.

It is imperative that vessels arriving at Panama Canal waters, for port calls or transit, after having called at ports located in any of these countries, or any other country with confirmed cases of the virus, and having identified any suspected case on board demonstrating any of the above-mentioned symptoms, report this condition through the Panama Maritime Single Window (VUMPA), within 30 days prior to their arrival. This is necessary in order to take appropriate measures to prevent the possible spread of this virus in the Republic of Panama.

Such measures include, but are not limited to, boarding the vessel by sanitary health authorities in order to investigate any cases; use of personal protective equipment, such as masks, by ACP personnel, or holding the vessel in quarantine as a precautionary measure.


Ilya R. Espino de Marotta
Acting Vice President for Transit Business