Peru is Latin America’s second-leading country for the pandemic, with over 76,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths. Within the last 24 hours, the number of cases increased by nearly 8,000 despite strict lockdown measures. There is little to no space left in the hospitals, medical workers are protesting, and families are traveling back to their home region.
Lima, Peru, is the nation’s epicenter for coronavirus.
The Pandemic in Peru Produced a Mass Exodus
The capital city of Peru, Lima, is known to be a city of migrants. Individuals and families from the surrounding regions moved there to find work, causing the city’s population to climb to nearly 10 million.
However, the strict lockdown measures ordered to flatten the curve of COVID-19 have severely restricted the economy and the workforce. Over the past two months, there has been an increasing number of families with no work, no housing, and limited necessities such as food, water, or clothing. Because of the number of people living in the streets, the city has been likened to a breeding ground for the coronavirus.
Due to the quickly crumbling economy, migrants are choosing to return home. For many of these migrants, return requires walking hundreds of miles with children and limited resources. Furthermore, this creates concern for the smaller regions of Peru, such as the Amazon region, comprised of cities Loreto and Piura.
Many of the cities on the outskirts of Peru are several hundred miles away from a hospital. Thus, it would be devastating to these communities if the virus were to manifest. If those who are traveling from the current coronavirus hotspot carry the virus with them, then there is a likely chance the virus would infiltrate the smaller regions.
The death rate remained consistently high over the past month.
Limited Equipment and Overflow
Even the medical workers in Lima are struggling to find enough equipment to treat the influx of patients daily. Masks have to be reused. Patients are being treated in the hallways because there are no beds. Medical workers are protesting because they are worried about their health and safety.
In a hospital with a capacity of six bodies, more than double that amount were admitted daily. President Martin Vizcarra has implemented strict lockdown procedures and is working toward increasing the number of intensive care units and medical equipment.
Despite the cases and deaths increasing, Vizcarra announced he would lift some restrictions in the next month.