Peru reports record daily surge in virus cases

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Peru on Tuesday recorded nearly 5,800 new cases of the coronavirus, its highest 24-hour surge, bringing the number of people infected in the country to almost 130,000, the health ministry said.

The news follows concern expressed by the Pan American Health Organization over the accelerating number of cases in the country, along with those of neighboring Chile and Brazil.

The health ministry said 5,772 new cases had been confirmed in the previous 24 hours, bringing the overall number to 129,751.

It said 3,780 people had died from the disease in the country since the first case was detected in early March.

President Martin Vizcarra said there were signs that the worst had passed.

“Peru has already entered a plateau in the curve that registers the expansion of the epidemic,” Vizcarra said. The curve “is not flat, but irregular, but the trend is towards a gradual and slow decline.”

Peru has been in lockdown for 72 days, paralyzing the economy. The health system is on the brink of collapse, with public hospitals facing drastic equipment shortages.

Nearly 70 percent of cases have been recorded in the capital Lima and the neighboring port of Callao, home to 10 million people or almost one-third of Peru’s population.

Before Tuesday’s announcement, the country had been registering an average of 4,000 new infections for several days.

Peru has the second-highest number of cases in Latin America after Brazil. (AFP)

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