Peru second Latin American country to pass 100,000 virus cases

Funeral home workers unload a coffin outside a crematorium in Lima on May 20. (AP pic)

LIMA: Peru has become the second Latin American country after Brazil to reach 100,000 coronavirus cases, according to health ministry figures out Wednesday.

The number of dead from Covid-19 has also passed 3,000, with only Brazil and Mexico have suffered more.

Both cases and deaths have tripled since April 30.

The dire statistics come even though Peru has been in lockdown for nine weeks, paralysing the economy.

The vast majority of cases are in Lima and its port Callao, where one-third of the country’s 32 million people live.

Peru’s health system is overwhelmed and teetering on the brink of collapse, with public hospitals facing drastic equipment shortages.

“It’s like a horror film,” Miguel Armas, a nurse at the Hipolito Unanue hospital in the capital Lima told AFP.

“Inside it seems like a cemetery given all the bodies.

“Patients are dying in their chairs (or) in their wheelchairs.”

Armas and fellow hospital staff protested in the streets on Wednesday demanding better safety equipment.

Peru has 7,500 people receiving hospital treatment for Covid-19, according to the latest figures.

Lima’s crematoriums have had to workday and night to deal with the dead, while queues of funeral cars have formed outside some hospitals in the Callao neighbourhood.

“My father died alone, there are no doctors inside, (patients) are dying because there are no doctors and no medicine,” Gloria Baylon, 37, told AFP outside the Luis Negreiros hospital in Callao.

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