We thought we had lockdown before, but this is an even more serious lockdown. I’m sitting on my terrace tonight and there is no traffic noise, not a car, not a rumble of a truck in the distance, nothing. It’s eerily quiet except for the birds, crickets, and the occasional sound of a neighbor or dog.

There was a 5pm-5am curfew but now there is a total 24 hr./day curfew. There will be no more ignoring the precautions and running around as you wish. Everyone is allowed only one hour out, and which hour is determined by the last number of your ID. This is for going to the supermarket, pharmacy, bank, gas station, or health care. It’s not for exercise, walking the dog, or anything non-essential. The police are out and about to enforce the rules.

The numbers came out today – 558 cases, 115 more than yesterday, 8 deaths, no new deaths since yesterday. The numbers are going up but so is the testing so it’s hard to say if more people are getting sick or more people are being identified. It’s probably both but either way, the new restrictions are said to be indefinite and rumor is that this will be for at least 30 days. That sounds sensible to me.

It’s bedtime so that’s all I’m going to write at the moment. Our produce guy is not allowed out so tomorrow we plan to go down the road to the produce market. It will be interesting to see what is going on.


It’s Thursday afternoon now, and the quiet continues. We went to the produce market at the allotted time for 65+ folks, 11am-1pm. The market entrances are closed so you stand outside, give them your order and they go get it for you. The workers had gloves and masks, and a couple spray bottles of alcohol were evident for cleaning hands or whatever. We got what we needed and a few extra things for a solo older neighbor lady. Neighbors said the situation at the supermarkets is much better without the long, slow lines, so that’s good in case we need to go. But we’re set for now and should only need another produce run in a week or so.

I got home in time for snack and reading circle time. My grandkids are home, so my daughter had this wonderful idea. We were in a video chat on one tablet, the other grandparents were on another, and we joined the circle while the kids read books and had their snacks. Then it ended with singing Zippity Do Da. It was wonderful to have this connection with my family!

Whoa! I heard a car! nope, its just the neighbor moving his car to the shade of a tree behind the house.

I feel good here though. Yes, this is inconvenient and really difficult for many, but the leadership is watching and acting. The president gave a speech last night  full of information, plans, encouragement, compassion, hope, solidarity in this difficult time, and promises of support and economic relief. I’ll share it in another post. What a contrast with what I’ve been seeing from my native country…. I was going to say home country but this is home now. Thank you Panama for yet one more reason to feel good here.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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15 Responses to Lockdown!

  1. Eliza Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.


  2. Kathy Meinberg says:

    Cl;early little Panama has a better handle on containment and attempting to flatten the virus curve and ease up the strain on health care facilities than does the train wreck that is the United States under the Malignant Mango Moron. Trump STILL refuses to initiate extensive testing, STILL refuses to order immediate mass production of PPE and ventilators, and has called for lifting containment measures against the advise of all medical experts while urging people to “pack” churches come Easter..How i wish now we’d moved to David two years ago, when we first considered the expat life!


    • Get yourselves through this and David will still be here waiting for you. I know what you are saying though, and it’s so bad. Friends of ours working in health care are working without adequate PPE, and their kids play with my grandkids, and they are only a couple of the thousands in the same situation. When leaders choose money over people…. Anyway, take good care of yourselves! I hope the toll in the US isn’t as bad as we fear. Thanks for the comment 🙂


  3. oldsalt1942 says:

    Depending on what happens in November, we may be neighbors again. I don’t have to renew my Cedula until 2028 so I’m still “Residente Permanente.” Just renew my passport and buy a ticket.


  4. Richard says:

    I find most here have taken the COVID-19 quarantine and ever-increasing curfew restrictions in stride and don’t get so alarmed about it.

    It’s the difference between the Panamanian mindset and the usual alarmist mentality ingrained in northern cultures.

    The conditions mentioned in this post are not consistent throughout the nation of Panamá.

    The reader is cautioned to remember these posts originate from the border of Costa Rica where enactment of Presidential edicts takes on a truly different flavor than elsewhere.

    Many of us live elsewhere in Panamá where life is much different. Still, the laws are clearly identical and enforced rigorously.

    As a point of clarification, authorized shopping times are 2, not one hour blocks with a 30 minute grace period permitted on either side strictly applied for travel to/from the store/pharmacy/bank; some of us come from provinces that have areas deep in the mountains that are more rural than places like David and Boquete and need that 25-30 minutes just to reach civilization.

    Also, the “elderly” time block of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. is for 60+, not 65+, irrespective of gender.

    Hopefully, these minor clarifications are of help to those who may have gotten confused.


    • What is going on in other places? I thought this was a national thing, decided at the national level. I know things aren’t always enforced as consistently as we would like, but it seems this is pretty clear and pretty serious. But, I only know what’s going on in my own area, and these days I’m lucky to know what’s going on in my own neighborhood.

      I understand there is a 30 minute opportunity to get to your destination before your shopping hour, and to return afterward, but I have heard people aren’t being let into stores until your official hour begins. I have also heard complaints from people who are more than 30 minutes from their needs. And there is confusion everywhere about the 60 or 65 thing. 60 makes sense since that’s the retirement age for men here.

      This is a totally new thing for all of us so I’m not surprised there are questions and confusion. Hopefully things get somewhat sorted out as time goes on. And, you’re right. The Panamanians generally don’t fuss about much of anything, and they are doing well with this. I think they appreciate the measures being taken to keep us safe.

      Thanks for the clarifications. I didn’t mean for this to be a resource, but I don’t need to add to the confusion that’s going on at the moment. Take good care of yourself!


  5. Alice says:

    We, as Panamanians are happy to have you and thousand others, as guest in Panamá. But, as you mentioned that you have a “full freezer” , did you think about others around your neigborhood, for example, people at the “comarcas” that doesn´t have anything to eat? As expat community, have you thought in solidarity?
    Thank God you have the financial means to do that….to buy the whole store. Others are not so lucky.


    • Somehow, you assume that I’m not generous with what I have and that I don’t look out for others.


    • sandramejias says:

      She talks about her experiences and is better if you know her before said something. As her neighbor, I’m so glad that she accept to be a part of our country. And more, you don’t know how generous she is with all the people that she know.
      About the people in the Comarca: they know how to survive more than all. They really grow in the meddle of the Mother Nature and the knew how handled that.
      I think this is the result for a quarantine for to many day. Hope everyone are safe. And this nightmare finish soon.


    • oldsalt1942 says:

      Apparently it never occurred to you that their freezer might have been full BEFORE the epidemic. If you were a regular reader you’d know they had a pig butchered for them MONTHS AGO. She wrote about it.


      • This is true, the freezer is 1/2-3/4 full all time from buying in bulk, and with fruit in season or from our yard, etc. But, the point seemed to be that I don’t think of others who are less fortunate. Alice obviously doesn’t know that I’ve spent my entire professional and personal life in service to others, and I’m not “expat community”, just an expat living among Panamanians.


    • Richard says:


      I am unsure if you are truly of Panamá. I have been in Panamá as long as Kris. Instead of focusing on a heavily populated lifestyle like the David-Boquete area, I have purposely experienced multiple rural cultures throughout Panamá. My wife was born here and understands well the rural life.

      The Ngobe-Buglé, what you refer to as the Comarca, are well known to my extended family for its financial independence and ubiquitous black magic rituals.

      Shortly after New Year’s this year, the Ngobe-Buglé abducted my wife’s teenage sister while everyone was attending church services remembering the three wise men. The abduction crossed more than one province and multiple checkpoints indicating nefarious intent. The Policia Nacional launched a nationwide search and systematic interrogation of the Ngobe-Buglé. The sister remains lost to the “poor” Comarca to this day with a bad outcome the probability.

      The Ngobe-Buglé are financially independent people to be feared, and certainly not underprivileged.


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