Panama is the latest country to offer travelers a COVID-19 test when they arrive at its main airport, a little less than a week after resuming international flights following a seven-month suspension due to the pandemic.
The Sofia SARS Antigen Fluorescent Immunoassay tests are meant to prevent the import of new cases at a time when parts of Europe and the United States are seeing a resurgence.
International flights to and from Panama, a regional transportation hub, resumed last Monday, Oct 12. Since then, some 1,000 people were tested, according to Jers Medical, the distributer of the tests in Panama.
A Panamanian health official said of those tested, about 20 people have come back positive for COVID-19.
Panamanians hope resuming international air travel with additional safety measures will help the Isthmus nation known for its famous shipping canal regain competitiveness.
Raffoul Arab, the manager of the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, said the tests are for travelers who do not already have a negative test less than 48 hours old.
Panama, which took strict measures earlier this year to contain the spread of the pandemic, has so far registered about 125,000 official cases and 2,500 death