300 People Trapped at Tribal Music Fest on Panamanian Beach After Coronavirus Shutdown [Photos]

Border police have surrounded the beachside town to stop attendees from leaving.

Hundreds of people are stranded on a beach in Panama after a music festival was locked down due to coronavirus.

On Wednesday, over 300 attendees of the Tribal Gathering Festival were told they could not leave the Playa Chiquita area after the country’s health minister declared a state of emergency as the nationwide tally of reported cases of the disease rose to over 100, including one death, according to several news outlets.

Authorities said any person attempting to leave had to prove they had been in Panama for at least 14 days.

The event had run from February 29 to March 15 and most of the estimated 2,300 attendees were able to leave before the quarantine. A suspected case of coronavirus on Monday had caused the remaining people to be forced to stay while testing occurred.

“It’s been a complete nightmare,” Katie Hughes, who performed and worked at the festival, told the BBC. “We weren’t really given any information, no authorities or bosses from the festival came to give us any information.”

The tests all came back negative.

Over the last fews days, however, some of the stranded revelers were able to make it out of the town, albeit under dicey circumstances.

“I escaped on a local chicken bus with a bunch of hippies to avoid roadblocks looking for foreigners at the festival just before the curfew kicked in,” Chris Williams told Vice.

An attendee that wished to remain anonymous told the publication, “The Panamanian authorities are disorganised so the situation keeps changing every hour. We just don’t know. People who tried to leave were stopped, made to wait long hours and then sent back to site. So I don’t know if I want to go through the hassle of nonsensical military procedures. At times, it’s like a bad joke of a comedown.”

The future still appears uncertain for the quarantined individuals, as festivals organizers advised relatives of the attendees to contact their respective country’s embassy for help, via an Instagram post.

“We don’t really know what’s happening in the festival now, some of our friends are still there but there’s no phone signal and very limited WiFi,” Hughes told BBC. “We don’t know what’s going to happen about them getting food or water as the festival is obviously all closed down, no music, nothing.”

[via TooFab]

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