Peru extends lockdown for 5th time as virus cases jump to 115,754


LIMA – Peru has extended its state of emergency and a nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic until the end of June, marking one of the longest periods of mandatory isolation in the world.

The South American country on Saturday registered 4,056 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the national tally to 115,754, with 3,373 deaths.

A total of 788,341 tests for the disease have been carried out, most of which concentrated in Lima the capital, the health ministry reported.

Peru, which began the lockdown in mid-March, will have lived under it for more than 3-1/2 months by a Jun 30 expiration, outlasting restrictions in Italy, Spain and China, some of the hardest hit countries in the pandemic.

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The president of the Peruvian Council of Ministers, Vicente Zeballos, said the fifth consecutive extension aims to curb the impact of the disease in the country, which has reported the second highest number of cases in the Latin America region.

The latest and fifth extension, which was announced by President Martin Vizcarra on Friday, comes with the reopening of certain economic activities, including household appliance sales, hair salons and dental services.

“All these services will be provided at home,” the government resolution stated, adding that certain sports will also be permitted to hold matches without spectators.

Restrictions on some sports will also be relaxed, including professional soccer, though games will take place in stadiums without an audience.

The government has also announced a plan to increase the number of hospital beds in Peru from 10,000 to 20,000 and the number of intensive care unit beds from 1,000 to 2,000.–With input from MercoPress