Peru Enters Lockdown as COVID-19 Cases Spike

Millions of residents in several regions across Peru started to enter a 15-day lockdown on Jan. 31, as the whole healthcare system of the South American nation begins to be overwhelmed by the surging cases of coronavirus.

On Jan. 26, Peruvian Interim President Francisco Sagasti announced that strict new measures would be imposed in metropolitan Lima and the regions of Lima, Callao, Ancash, Pasco, Huanuco, Junin, Huancavelica, Ica, and Apurimac from Jan. 31 to February 14, as the government attempts to curb the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases in the country.

According to Sagasti, the total lockdowns for 10 of the country’s 25 regions were imposed because the mounting coronavirus cases had pushed many of the country’s hospitals to the brink of collapse.

“We must all contribute so that the suffering does not extend to new people,” said Sagasti.

The healthcare system of the country only has 500 intensive care beds for 32 million of the country’s residents. Sagasti said that they are expecting to receive another 350 beds in the following two weeks.

The strict lockdown would affect about 16.4 million Peruvians, which is approximately half of the country’s entire population.

Residents are urged to work remotely and would only be allowed to leave their homes to purchase necessities.

The government would only allow essential businesses and establishments, such as markets, pharmacies and banks, to remain open amid the lockdown. Churches would be closed and restaurants would only accommodate takeout orders.

The regions would also observe a curfew between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. and the use of personal vehicles would be restricted on Saturdays and Sundays.

The country would also continue to restrict international flights coming from Europe and Brazil, where the new strains of the virus remain chronic.

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