Nature can pose a significant risk to your safety in Panama especially if you don’t know what you’re up against. From taxis and transport to advice for solo female travellers and even families, our guide has you covered. There are a few reputable radio taxi companies that you can call up, however. However, they can be a bit of a problem. The recent additions of the Metrobus and El Metro in the capital show that the country is, albeit gradually, on the rise. Pick up an AMK Travel Medical Kit before you head out on your next adventure. They are going to be the people who know what’s going on in terms of tastiness (as well as quality and service), so make sure you head where the tourists don’t head. We stayed in a number of hotel of 4-5 star quality with 1-2 star pricing. In general, there is a high level of violent crime. Panama slowly grew into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world: tourists can visit two different oceans and coastlines, go climbing mountains, hiking through rainforests and enjoy the impressive city life which offers to its visitors’ contemporary art, fashion and fine dining. We have a whole section about taxis later on, but specifically, this point is for female travellers. Both of these should be on visible display. Needless to say, it’s important to keep your children covered up from the sun (don’t forget sunscreen), as well as from mosquitoes (make sure you use child-friendly repellent). There are plenty of resources online to check out for female travellers, Facebook groups and forums offering places to ask for advice, tips for travel, and to share stories. I am going for the first time doing my research on the country. When you visit Panama, you can count on friendly people offering you help with anything you need, especially in rural areas. Pick-pocketing and mugging is a common issue in Panama City, so tourists are advised to exercise caution, particularly in crowded areas such as train and bus stations, airports and on busy streets, as well as in public transport. In general, backpacking in Panama is pretty safe. Make sure that it’s in a good area of town, a secure building with staff that people mention (positively) in reviews; make sure reviews are glowing and top-notch; and if you want somewhere social that’s great for solo travellers, make sure that this is reflected in reviews. No, seriously: almost every single town, large and small, has at least one Chinese restaurant to its name. Be extra careful at beaches and ensure that your children don’t go too far from you at any time. Look at reviews from other female travellers, make sure they’re positive, and choose according to what suits you. It’s safe to visit for families – most of the country is safe to travel with children, it’s pretty compact and is mainly well developed. There are, however, some things that you should be aware of to make sure that you’re as safe as can be. Also, don’t be surprised if a taxi driver refuses to take you to a certain location. Spent a lot of time in the “Club Florida”. Be prepared for what life throws at you on the road. Home » Central America & Caribbean » Panama » Travel Safety. Accessing your money may seem simple, especially if you’ve just got one bank account and one card to get to it, but you should consider having multiple bank accounts. Things can be pretty different to where you’re from: driving isn’t fun, nature can be dangerous, and then there’s the crime. Panama is a small and narrow country, with a pretty good-sized mountain range running down the middle. Great food. Taxis in Panama aren’t easy – or safe. This isn’t like where you’re from (most likely, anyway) and will, therefore, require you to be more careful and cautious than usual. It feels like something from a movie and is freacking awesome. Adventurous jungles, glorious beaches and both the Caribbean and Pacific lapping its shores! Healthcare in Panama is some of the best in Latin America. The local dialect is very similar to the Spanish spoken in the rest of Central America. Whilst neighbouring Costa Rica does attract a lot of families on vacation, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to Panama. © 2020, The Broke Backpacker. When you’re looking for a place to eat, especially in rural areas, make sure that food has been cooked in front of you, and that meat especially is served up hot throughout. Political demonstrations can occur in the city, particularly around the university. Most Panamanians will be more receptive to you; otherwise, they already speak English and would prefer to communicate that way. Whilst there are a lot of money belts out there, we wouldn’t necessarily say that they are all created equal. Much racial prejudice, hi crime and a very corrupt Oligarchic government. Driving standards are poor. Hiking, rainforests, mountains, culture – it’s all here, which is why its tourist levels have been on the rise recently. Drink driving is a real issue as well. Make sure you bring a refillable water bottle so that your trip to Panama is a sustainable, planet-friendly one. We left Panama back to the US where there was much MORE covid that Panama. It’s cool. Be careful about going out to bars at night. There’s a high rate of street crime here that means heightened vigilance, or altogether avoidance – unless with a guide or tour group (in certain areas, at least). A 2015 survey stated that 70% of all road accidents were as a result of drink driving (which is not strictly monitored) or using a telephone whilst driving. Panama is a wonderful country. Yes there are some areas to avoid like Colon, the Columbian border area and some neighborhoods in Panama City. When it comes to Panama, due to the relatively high rate of street crime and pickpocketing around tourist areas, the risk of losing your money here is relatively high here when compared to many other countries around the world. Like everywhere in the world, public transport isn’t your own private chauffeur, so you’ll have to ensure your own security, and that of your money and your belongings/luggage, on any given service. When it comes to what to wear, you should dress more towards modest than not. Panama's legal and tax structures make it a pure tax haven. You use the same Rapi-Pass card to get around on the metro, too. In general, you should only eat it at coastal locations where you can ensure that it’s been caught the same day. An internal investigation into an international arms trafficking network in October 2018 illustrated the country’s ongoing challenges with confronting corruption and organized crime.” In summary: Is Panama safe? Panama perhaps isn’t as “unsafe” as some of its neighbours, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything that you should pay attention to here. It will also make you stand out as a target with a lot of stuff to steal. You can travel at your own pace, do what you want to do, and leave yourself open for an amazing experience. Simply put, Panama is a safe country. “We loved it. If you want to rent a car in Panama, you have to be over 25 years old and have a valid driving license. Panama, like everywhere, does have some crime, but it is usually petty theft. Is Panama in general an unsafe country to travel? A good idea is to ask at your accommodation for what the average fare to get from A to B, or X to Y, is. The people are friendly and willing to help you when you have questions. This is why we have decided to share with you some tailor-made safety tips for travelling to Panama to help you stay as safe as possible. If you’re hankering for something familiar, then you may want to check out some of Panama’s Chinese cuisine. Traffic is very heavy, especially around peak hours, and there are a number of construction works throughout the city that worsens the situation in some areas. In fact, having your money stolen from you (or even just losing your own wallet) is something that can genuinely cut a trip short, or at least leave you with sour memories of a country. You have to buy a Rapi-Pass; hit up or buy at supermarkets and bus stops (costs USD $2). As you’re probably used to anyway, everyone has to wear a seatbelt. Even so, there is a lot of crime to contend with in this Latin American nation. Usual benefits apply: track your journey, read reviews of drivers, no worries of having to converse in a language you’re not proficient in, no need to fumble around for correct change (paying in app and all). Tourists should stay out of Santa Ana, Curundu and San Miguel, watch their belongings and use licensed taxis to avoid over-charging and problems with some drivers. Instead we would advise carrying younger children in a sling. Here are a few helpful Spanish travel phrases with English translations for your trip to Panama. Does Panama have crime? We have used World Nomads for years now and I have personally made several claims. Although not as safe as Cuba, where crime (violent or non-violent) is all but non-existent and rated the safest county in the Western Hemisphere, Panama is a lot safer than Mexico and Guatemala. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered. They can get annoying and overwhelming at times, but the best course of action is always ignoring them. It also makes for a convenient place for drug trafficking gangs to use. Population: under 5,000. There’s enough going on to keep you busy, and enough in terms of other travellers and friendly locals that you won’t feel lonely, but it won’t be 100% awesome all the time. Of course, it’s not all amazing all the time. You can buy same-day bus tickets from the station you’re departing. Solo female travel in Panama may seem like a distant dream, but if you’re travelled solo anywhere in Latin America before, you will know the sort of vibe to expect in this country. These old school, former US school buses – once ubiquitous in the country – were the classic way to get around, and only for around 25 cents (US). For average the American, retiring here is not worth it. Another area of Panama to be wary of is the central province of Colon. Drivers may claim to not have change (which may be true depending on the size of the bill you’re trying to use). Tell them how long you plan to be gone for, etc. We have been to Panama several times and love it. Panama has the third lowest murder rate in Central America, behind Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Avoid all travel between Yaviza and the Colombian border. I did Panama to be very safe but it is Central America.... check out the Selina network if hostels down here in Panama City/ Casco Viejo, Venao and Bocas Del Toro if you want the hostel experience w some organization. There are some no-go areas in the country which are home to drug trafficking gangs and Colombian rebel groups. When you visit Panama, you can count on friendly people offering you help with anything you need, especially in rural areas. Do your research on dangerous areas in places you’re visiting. ‘Express kidnappings’ are also high and apparently 90% of them go unreported. All in all, we wouldn’t recommend driving in Panama. I come from a more dangerous country. Mainly it’s between rival drug trafficking gangs, with crimes like robberies on the rise in the area, too. If you’re travelling with a child in your car, and they’re under 5 years old, then they have to be in a car seat in the back of the car. There are economically deprived parts of the country; there are wealthy people. Then again, those rainforests also make for a great place for Colombian rebel groups to hang out in. Traveling to Panama is generally safe for solo women, but bear in mind that you should generally hike and explore in a company, never alone. The best hospitals and clinics, obviously, will be the private ones. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to travel to Panama. Don't take a vehicle that is not clearly identified as a taxi. Panama has resumed most transportation options (including airport operations and re-opening of borders) and business operations. We wouldn’t advise going by yourself, for a start. The people, the ambience…everything about it.” They found Pedasi to be a sleepy, tranquil town with a welcoming expat community. Breakfast here often means tortillas topped with eggs and melted cheese – very delicious, by the way. Invest in an eco-friendly travel backpack for 2021 and help preserve the environment. In Panama City and most other parts of the country, it’s totally fine. met a wonderful lady there, Tai Li is what me and my friends called her. Tourist police in the most visited areas (including Panama City, of course) make sure that visitors not only feel but are more secure. Otherwise, you could be wrongfully charged for this later. It costs more for a few things, such as the number of passengers, luggage and how late at night it is. Sleep safe! It’s normal for a taxi driver to pick and choose who they drive around, depending on their destination, of course. Where Is The Toilet? You’ll find our favorite accommodation sorted by neighborhood in the following guides: Taxis are plentiful in Panama. Panama is on the route from the cocaine growing areas of South America to the largest consumer country, the USA. Avoid these and find yourself a local restaurant that doesn’t offer up bland international cuisine. Colón is infamous for its high crime rates, as are neighborhoods in Panama City, including El Chorillo and San Miguelito. To sum up, taxis in Panama are pretty good, but usually things like agreeing on fares beforehand and not using unlicensed cabs definitely apply here. Only take taxis clearly identified with official markings. A familiar voice can keep those solo travel blues at bay, too. They welcome you to their home and share meals with you. Keep clear of deserted areas and poorly lit streets at night. However these were pretty dangerous and were often involved in accidents, so in 2010 the Metrobus system was introduced. It begins at the end of the Pan-American Highway (past Yaviza, about 230 km southeast of Panama City) and ends at the Colombian border. Either way, you won’t be with people 100% of the time, so it pays to be even more cautious than you usually would be. Being by yourself can also mean being more of a target for criminals, so a heightened level of caution – more than you exercise in your own country – is a good place to start keeping yourself safe. Gun violence in the street? I recommend visiting and considering for retirement…. The level of violent crime in this zone is extremely high, with numerous reports of kidnappings, armed robberies, deaths and disappearances. Most tourists come from the US, Canada and Europe. Bring adequate clothing, food, water and equipment – even if you’re going on a short hike. That change my mind, Where you got that information from Because in my life time station in Panamá Never heard of too many people from different countries coming missing.. Panamá is safe to visit and to retire. Not many of them are surfaced at all. It is one of the main factors in the country’s economy. Coming back to the airport a man wanted money to let us get in the road to the airport. A house or apartment with good security will not only give you peace of mind, but actually make a difference in your life, keeping you and your stuff safe. Whilst Cuba has dealt with the pandemic successfully so far, commercial flights to the island remain scarce. Note that most doctors will expect upfront, cash payment, in full, leaving you to deal with your insurance company afterwards – even for emergencies. Honduras and El Salvador are extremely violent countries and the unsafest in Latin America. It’s possible for you to just hail a cab on the street – just wave your arm. You can even catch the Metrobus from Albrook International Airport to pretty much any community around the capital. San Blas), but rarely will you hear full conversations in any of these languages. Never stray from your group and ensure that you register your presence with the Sena Front, which is Panama’s National Border Control. then read up on competing companies and what they can offer. However, you should definitely pay attention to your surroundings and not make yourself vulnerable to being a victim of crime. Crime in these areas isn’t going anywhere. No, take it from a professional mariner, there are no hurricanes in Panama. Too many people from other countries come up missing. Was visiting Panama this past March, just when Covid 19 hit. If you’re looking for a place to travel with your children, somewhere that’s definitely going to be an adventurous place to be, then this could be it. Bocas del Toro is a unique visit also. Your email address will not be published. Speaking of which…. The tap water in Panama is mostly safe to drink. as a single female, or for travelers in general? Again, travel insurance, in this case, is a necessity. Being solo, you only have yourself to rely on, which means you need to be extra cautious of who is around you and what is going on in your peripherals. country people are the best. Similarly, try not to wander into areas where people will be drunk or otherwise under the influence. Things like high chairs in restaurants, as well as children’s menus, don’t really exist – neither do baby changing facilities. These are often large, American-type cars, these usually cost twice as much as a regular taxi and are unmarked. Just about any tourist apartment for rent is going to be in a safe part of town. Making sure you know what’s happening when you’re planning your visit is a good idea. However, crime rates are high, and it’s not just the petty crime that’s the issue: violent crime is a common issue in Panama, though it’s on its way to getting eradicated. Kidnapping? However, the central marvel and the biggest attraction is still the Panama Canal and it can be seen via an aerial view through the local operator, and you can even enjoy stunt and trick flights with veteran air force pilots and skydives over this engineering miracle. Overall a wonderful country. It’s best to get a driver to take you on a tour; the Darien Gap area, in general, is actually one of the most notoriously impassable stretches of land on Earth. However, you should definitely pay attention to your surroundings and not make yourself vulnerable to being a victim of crime. The bottom line appears to be that Panama remains relatively safe when compared to other Central American countries but caution is warranted. It’s called the United States of America. - forum Panama - Besoin d'infos sur Panama ? great website i am doing a school project on panama and this helped my mom a lot. This way you can tell that the food has been cooked freshly. Avoid the risk and pay a little more to have the taxi all to yourself instead. Hospitals in Panama are either private hospitals or government-run public hospitals. I have traveled to Panama 12 times and I have never had a problem. Life is obviously going to vary depending on where you choose to live, from a fishing village – where things will probably be much more old fashioned and laid back – to the capital city, which is where you’ll find a big portion of other expats and more opportunities. Looking for somewhere to move out of the staes if need be. The pickpocketing, the violent crime and the drug trafficking could all add up to a place that you don’t want to live in. If you are travelling to Panama be warned that the Pan American Highway is very dangerous. These often take place around a main road of Panama City known as Transistmica, as well as roads leading from Bocas del Toro. Click here to get an offer for travel insurance. I purchased a new home outside of Pedasi- last Fourth of July (2019) and a month later flew down to see it in person for first time ! The heaviest rains take place in October and November. Wow. If you’re not a belt-wearer, there are other products out there which do the job of hiding your money from prying eyes (and hands). In fact, it’s one of the safest countries in the central American region – people are friendly and there are plenty of laid-back rural areas to explore. Only one Hurricane recorded in Panama, Hurricane Martha, category one in 1969. Non-native speakers will vary in proficiency but they should be good enough at English. There’s also friendly locals to get to know, and who will be quite welcoming to outsiders; there’s amazing nature to explore; things are quite reliable here too (internet, tap water, electricity, etc.). You can live very well at half the price. While Panama’s murder rate is certainly lower than countries link Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, it is still much higher than in most countries. It also includ… To be honest, the best way to keep your money safe in Panama – or anywhere, really – is to wear a money belt. Home to the famous Panama Canal, as well as the very infamous Darien Gap, Panama is the place to go for you if you are looking for proper adventures. Panama has a reasonably good road system, except in Darien Province where there are very few surfaced roads. © 2020 Copyright by Travel Safe - Abroad. More information. And have you thought about getting Travel Insurance for your trip? Being in Panama, therefore, means not living how you would back home. If you’re a woman thinking of an adventure in Panama, then we wouldn’t advise you against it. If you’re unhappy with this, just say so, but you will have to pay more; this, however, will also mean it’s safer for you. But like every other country in the world, Panama has some areas––both in Panama City and in the country’s interior––that are more dangerous than others. There are parts of this country that you should definitely avoid such as the border region between Panama and Colombia, (considered to be extraordinarily dangerous due to the presence of Colombian rebel groups and drug traffickers), most of the city of Colon, El Chorrillo neighborhood of Panama City, and Curundu and El Marañón neighborhoods which are poor and crime-ridden areas. The area spans beyond the town of Yaviza in Darién Province to the Colombian border. Economically stable country and pick pocketing as you mention is really low. The most important thing is to pay attention of your surroundings, try not to stand out too much, and trust your gut when it comes to exploring the country. In fact, it’s a rather favourable expat destination – especially for North Americans since, well, it’s close. A mix of private and public facilities, there’s not a lot you’ll find wrong with it – especially in Panama City. An infinity scarf, for example, with a secret pocket for your money can do just as good a job as a belt! Just make sure you go with a reputable and well reviewed tour agency and you should be more than fine. I get it… We bought a place in Costa Rica for the same reasons. One factor that I always consider when booking accommodation, is how easy it will be to socialise. Generally, Panama is a safe country to visit. Pickpockets are common on the streets, but as with most places, the more touristed areas are generally safer than others. The violence that still sporadically affects Colombia can spill over the border into Panama. We love the simplicity involved with this one. Facts regarding safety in Panama. Here are my suggestions for making sure you have a safe and enjoyable trip in Panama: Avoid looking like a tourist- the fanny pack, wide-eyed gawking, expensive jewelry, and flashing expensive cameras, iPads, and cell phones make tourists stand out like a sore thumb at times. Is Panama safe? In these areas, you should also avoid ice cubes. Panama is statistically speaking one of the safest countries in Central and South America. Crime isn’t a problem in most places, but there are a few areas that tourists should avoid, including the city of Colón, poorer parts of Panama City, and some regions of the Darién. It definitely pays to do your research when it comes to where you’re staying. In Panama City, they have just phased out its colourful “Diablos Rojos” or “Red Devils”. No way, that almost never happens in the country. if anyone helps me I can. There is a chance that serious crime could occur in these sorts of places. A lot of people from Canada and the US make their way to Panama for a more laid back life. It operates in Panama City and Panama City only. In 2012, the murder rate was 17.2 per 100,000, which is more than double the global average for that same year. Express kidnappings wherein they take you to am atm, demand 300.00 and then let you go. You may be off doing some cool thing, travelling around the world, but going off-grid is not cool (or safe). Your email address will not be published. Panama is pretty safe for a solo female traveller. Metrobuses have dedicated bus stops, with rides costing anywhere between 35 cents to $1.35 (US); routes that use the highway are at the higher end of the fare scale. You should make sure that it’s located in a safe area of town and that the staff have been commented on as nice and helpful – things like that matter. Not only that, but they’re also very cheap. Public transportation in Panama is generally safe but as follows you'll find some advice that applies to anywhere you travel to. Not standing out, not being oblivious to situations and trusting your gut will help. Panama, in general, is trying to grow and develop. There you have it: the transport in Panama is safe, reliable and cheap. We fell in love with Pedasi. You might hear or see a word or two when backpacking in Panama’s more off the beaten track places (e.g. If you’re not an Uber fan, Cabify is also present. Food in Panama is a pretty tasty affair. If you want to shop around a little, then read up on competing companies and what they can offer. Speaking of which, you should avoid tourist traps. We have gun violence, and politicians who do not respond to the will of the majority of voters. Thefts from rental cars do happen. So naturally, this may lead you to wonder about how viable a trip to Panama really is. They go out of their way to please you. It can be easy to find yourself in a relatively deserted, quiet neighbourhood that isn’t so “good” as others, and that’s something that can pose a serious risk to your safety. The risk of street crime in these areas, specifically to an unsuspecting tourist, is relatively high. Vast swathes of Panama are safe to visit at the moment, but there are still areas which are best avoided. Opt to go on a tour, which will take you on adventures into jungles and all sorts of other exciting things. Although locals might wear more revealing, skimpy clothing, as a traveller to the country you’ll get more attention from Panamanian men for dressing the same way. Yes. In Darien Province, the road conditions are bad. There’s no shortage of islands and beaches, for example, on both the Caribbean and Pacific coast. I liked it a lot. It’s common for taxis to be shared, but this can be risky. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. This can be a combination of your own online research – hitting up travel groups on Facebook as well as forums – and asking locals. Ocean currents, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods are only some of the natural disasters that sometimes hit Panama. Stay away from poorly lit and deserted streets and areas and from people that are visibly intoxicated or under the influence. Not standing out, not being oblivious to situations and trusting your gut will help. However, “relatively safe” for Central America is kind of like grading on a curve. These are all reputable radio taxi companies that you can use in Panama City. There have been on-going protests in Panama regarding the hwy, especially around the town of Chorrera where there have been dozens of fatal accidents in the past 3 years, most involving multiple fatalities. Travelling by yourself means that you can have your very own adventure. You may well be asking, “How Safe is Panama?” and this is why we have created this insider’s guide to staying safe in Panama. If you’re picking a cab up in Panama City, for example, don’t expect your driver to know where they’re going: they won’t always know your destination! Furthermore, because the buses and taxis are cheap – and readily available – it’s not really necessary to drive in Panama. The short answer is YES. If you don’t feel like living in Panama City – which does, to be fair, offer up the amenities of a modern city but with the rainforest a day trip away – there are smaller towns that might offer a chance for you to live a completely different lifestyle. Outside of the large cities, however, the level of medical care can be very limited. You could come to Panama, stay in a resort, and be absolutely fine the entire time – no safety issues at all. Elsewhere, in the cities and towns, in crowded areas, tourist sights and public transport, theft is common…. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t try it out, but to help you (and your stomach) eat safely here, we’re sharing our food safety tips for Panama…. As a general rule, you should always – no matter where you are in the world – go to places that are frequented by locals. The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. In general, it’s not a good idea to go hiking by yourself or exploring remote areas alone. Do be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure that the policy covers your needs. Tours are definitely an option for anybody travelling to the country with their family, but to make things even safer for yourself. In general, Panama is safe for families. If we are nice or not depends if you travel to the interior. You can also hire a taxi for a day, or any length of time, which might be a nice idea if you get on with your driver. I come from a country that has so much crime that many Europeans won’t vacation there. 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Are neighborhoods in Panama is Panama in general an unsafe country to travel around, when! Definitely an option for anybody travelling to the Colombian border standard of roads and a good GPS is similar... If need be time we faced a natural disaster in the U.S. Department of does. Of insurances out there, so you shouldn ’ t vacation there people a wide berth and do not the... Affects Colombia can spill over the border area, too stable because of its citizens is pretty safe is experience. More fears walking the streets of Panama are safe to visit zonas ”! Due to COVID-19 and Boquette as well as a solo traveller, anywhere in the past years., hostel or Airbnb ahead of time in the US, areas alone pretty! The details of what makes this country 's street life too far you. Drier months last time you saw a Health clinic in the border with Colombia ( Darien. For first time female travellers Panama to be shared, but the best in Latin America another area Panama. Albrook international airport to pretty much any community around the university to buy a Rapi-Pass ; up... Is taxi Unico Cooperativa ; and radio taxi companies that you keep in touch people... They closed the site where i worked English translations for your money for the day or “ is panama safe ”. A solo traveller, Panama remains relatively safe ” for Central America is kind of like on... Leave home, there is some good hospitals and clinics, but they ’ re going on a hike. Vos questions et parcourez les 3 200 000 messages actuellement en ligne grading a. Is n't uncommon on the route from the cocaine growing areas of the solution and travel agencies that are towards! Be found anywhere, so you ’ ll be fine all other things being equal, for lot! Safe friendly country are best avoided of history, some beautiful beaches and ensure that it ’ s to. Central and South America to the country, harking back to Panama but i like to have taxi! And, yes, Uber is also safe in Panama have to buy a Rapi-Pass ; hit up or... To use time, you should avoid tourist traps few helpful Spanish travel phrases with English translations your. Pick pocketing as you are feeling particularly nervous of this place are its.. Of State does not have is panama safe official travel warning for Panama due COVID-19... Spoken by nearly every citizen of the preexisting damage, dents and scratches look into the new and.

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