The Covid-19 pandemic took a turn for the worse in the last two weeks, official figures confirm. In response, the government has announced the return to a state of emergency and nightly curfews, although on a more selective basis than during the initial shutdown last March.

In a supreme decree issued on 31 July, the government renewed ‘state of emergency’ regulations until 31 August in every province of five regions (Arequipa, Ica, Junín, Huánuco and San Martín) and in specific provinces in another ten (Madre de Dios, Ancash, Moquegua, Tacna, Cuzco, Puno, Huancavelica, Cajamarca, Amazonas and Apurímac).

The number of cases identified has thus risen substantially over much of Peru, reflecting the difficulties involved in enforcing self-distancing and the increase in testing. Significant proportions of those tested have registered positive, while in Cuzco the R number is reckoned to be around 2, meaning that the pandemic risks running out of control.

Hospital facilities in Cuzco and other urban centres are increasingly unable to cope as the number of positive cases rises and more and more medical staff are affected by the pandemic.

Over the last week the total number of cases recorded since mid-March passed the 400,000 mark, reaching 407,492 on 31 July. The curve of new cases has risen steeply since mid-July. The current death toll from Covid-19 is put at 18,612, although this is undoubtedly lower than the true number of people who have perished.