On March 11th 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a state of pandemic for the COVID19 virus, which is why global sanitary measures were established in order to mitigate the contagion. Central America, responded by shutting its borders or by modifying its border management policies, as well as launching massive hygiene campaigns.
The Government of Panama decreed a state of emergency on 12 March 2020, and as a result of the related measures that were established, many operations have been severly affected, particularly the Controlled Flow Operation. For its part, the Government of Costa Rica declared a nationwide state of national emergency on 16 March 2020. As a result, the border between Panama and Costa Rica is presumed to be closed for at least another month, due to the sanitary measures set by the Government of Costa Rica.
Among the various measures decreed by both countries; include the closure of borders, a situation that has left a stock of approximately 2.500 migrants stranded since 18 March 2020 in the province of Darien. They have been mostly stranded at the Migrant Receiving Station (MRS) La Peñita and at the community of Bajo Chiquito and others in MRS Los Planes in Chiriquí. This has obviously generated a series of complications, such as overcrowding, lack of hygiene resources and food provisions, complications with solid waste management, and increased stress due to uncertainty, among others.