Taboga, a small and exotic island in Panama off the Pacific coast, is free of COVID-19, and its 16-year-olds completed the vaccination against the disease on Friday (22), opening a window for the recovery of tourism, which is vital for its survival.
With an area of 5.9 square kilometers and a population of about 1,000, the island is the largest in the small archipelago of Las Perlas in the Gulf of Panama, as its website states.
“At the moment we have 0 cases of Covid-19 virus on the island of Taboga,” the Head of Public Health in the Capital Region of Health of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), Anna Lorena Chang, told Agência Efe.
On Thursday in Tobaga, Zhang led a trip to administer the second dose of the Covid vaccine to all residents over the age of 16 on this island and other inhabited islands in the archipelago.
“Since it is a hard-to-reach area, it was decided to vaccinate all residents over 16 years old, pregnant women, and teachers, covering about 1,800 people on the island of Taboga, which includes the islands of East Otoc and Otoque Oeste,” the MINSA employee highlighted.
Yarnith Martinez, a 23-year-old girl, is a commune resident who received a second injection on Friday. Although happy with the vaccination, she stressed that the population needs to continue to take care of themselves.
“We must not let our guard down, we must continue to take care of ourselves, even if we get vaccinated, because this (epidemic) will last a little longer,” Martinez told Efe.
Taboga is approximately 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometers) from Panama City. It practically isolated itself with the outbreak of the epidemic in the Central American country, which has accumulated 372,800 confirmed cases, 6314 deaths and experienced two strong waves of infection.
He explained, “The largest number of cases was recorded in this place in January, about 16 cases, but we moved quickly. This caused the population at that time to remain so far at 0 cases and the same applies to the other islands.” Chang.
The clear blue waters of Taboga beaches, blue and green, are its main attraction, but it is also the richness of its flora, which leads to it being called “Ilha das Flores”.
“Thanks to the strict care that we have had with our residents, we have been able to successfully open the beaches, which is what today is causing businesses in Taboga to recover little by little,” Magali Recorded, the mayor of the island, told Efe.
The policy highlighted the importance of vaccination, as it primarily protects the population, as well as tourists who wait impatiently, she said.
“The message to tourists is that please, when you come to Tabuja, take all biosafety measures. Tobacco users are waiting for them with open arms. (The population) has behaved very well, and they adhere to all biosafety measures, and we also hope that the tourists will support us.”