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Peru exceeds 200,000 Covid deaths: officials

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Lima (AFP)

The ministry announced 25 new deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the South American country above the symbolic threshold with 200,003 deaths since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The Andean country of 33 million people has also recorded 2.2 million infections.

With 6,065 deaths per million inhabitants, Peru’s death rate from Covid is the highest in the world, according to an AFP count based on official data.

The news comes at a time of declining daily cases and deaths attributed to increased vaccinations, although authorities remain concerned about a potential new wave of infections from the Delta variant which is now predominant in the country.

“We maintain a high level of control,” Health Minister Hernando Cevallos recently said.

“It is likely that the first and second waves generated immunity in part of the population, as did the vaccination.”

The decline in infections has allowed the government to relax some health measures and reactivate parts of the economy.

The nighttime curfew has been reduced to just two hours while restaurants are now allowed to operate at full capacity.

The death toll in Peru is exceeded in Latin America only by Brazil and Mexico, although the populations of these countries are respectively almost seven and four times larger.

Before the pandemic, Peru had one of the region’s fastest growing economies, but in 2020 GDP fell 11% and more than 2.1 million people lost their jobs as Peru entered the country. recession.

“We must get vaccinated so that there is no more sadness in the homes and no more orphans,” Mirtha Garcia Espinoza, 39, a mother of two and widowed by the pandemic, told AFP.

Peru’s virus death rate has been falling since April, when it hit 2,500 per week.

As of last week, that number had fallen to 169, according to official figures.

Experts attribute Peru’s problems to its large informal economy and an inefficient health system.

The government hopes to immunize 70 percent of its population over 12 by the end of the year.

More than 14.2 million people have so far received the two doses of vaccination, or 51% of people over 12 years old.