The Banana Industry Workers Union (SITRAIBANA) and Industrial Union of Independent Banana Producers’ Workers (SITRAPBI) representing plantation workers in Changuinola region of Panama have written to the Ministry of Health (MINSA) demanding action to address increasing cases of Covid-19 infections in the region.
Despite MINSA lifting quarantine measures on 1 June, the number of cases of infection have increased considerably in the banana zone of Changuinola. The unions had already requested in May that MINSA reconsider their plan to lift quarantine.
The unions are demanding the implementation of the strict measures to eradicate the pandemic contained in the Panamanian Government’s national quarantine originally introduced in March this year. These include the provision of medical supplies, including sanitising agents, artificial respirators, ICU beds, shelters and quarantine in the most affected areas.
As of 15 July 2020, Panama reported 49,243 cases, 982 deaths, and 25,417 recoveries, currently rising at over 2% per day. It is among the ten Latin American countries worst affected by the pandemic.