The emergency quarantine goes on for another two weeks, albeit with some relaxation in specific sectors. In a message to the nation on 8 May, President Martín Vizcarra announced that the national state of emergency will continue until 24 May. He claimed that his government had managed to bring the R-value down from 3 to 1, but this was still not enough to prevent a further upswell in contagion. The nightly curfew will begin at 8 pm in most of Peru, but at 6 pm in the north.
Previously, the government had given its blessing to a gradual reopening of business in a variety of sectors, including mining, fisheries and manufacturing. At least in theory this will be subject to strict oversight by government officials as to compliance with specified protocols. Quite how this supervision would be organised was less than clear.
In the mining sector, companies will respond favourably to this relaxation of the rules. According to Pablo de la Flor, executive director at the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy (SNMPE), mining companies would be back to producing 80% of their normal output within a month. He said that around 20 companies were ready to resume production. Currently, he said, large-scale miners were operating about 35-40% of capacity.
However, mining unions have cautioned against a speedy resumption, aware that the let-up would encourage the spread of the virus among its members and their families. There have been many instances of the virus in mining operations over the last few weeks. The most notable case has been at Antamina, the giant copper producer in Ancash region, operated jointly by BHP-Billiton, Glencore and Teck.
Meanwhile the total number of registered cases, as well as deaths, has continued to rise over the last seven days. As on 8 May, there were 61,847 cases and 1,714 known deaths. This is up from 40,459 and 1,124 respectively on the figures for 1 May. Lima continues to be where most cases have occurred, although the numbers in the northern regions of Piura, Lambayeque and La Libertad have increased substantially. Within Lima, the districts with the largest number of cases are San Juan de Lurigancho (see PSG article) and San Martín de Porres.