Panama cautious after day without COVID-19 deaths

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A man gets a first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 in a car at the Rommel Fernandez soccer stadium where the parking lot is being used as a vaccination center in Panama City, Thursday, April 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

PANAMA CITY – Panama raised capacity on public transportation across the country Monday, a day after celebrating the first day in 14 months without a COVID-19 death.

The pause in COVID-19 deaths came despite a slight rise in confirmed infections that led to quarantines being imposed in two western provinces.

On Sunday, Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre announced that there were no new deaths to announce for the previous 24-hour period.

The government urged people to continue to be cautious however. Neighboring Costa Rica has been experiencing its most difficult moment of the pandemic in recent weeks.

Panama has reported more than 370,000 confirmed infections and 6,296 COVID-19 deaths.

On Monday, the government said that buses could now operate at 80% capacity, but that riders would have to use face shields and masks.