Peru extends protracted national lockdown until end of June

Marco Aquino
FILE PHOTO: Peruvian soldiers stand at the border between Peru and Bolivia after Peru's government's announcement of the border closure in a bid to slow the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), in Desaguadero

By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru on Friday extended its state of emergency and a nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic until the end of June, marking one of the longest periods of mandatory isolation in the world.

The Andean nation, which began the lockdown in mid-March, will have lived under it for more than 3-1/2 months by a June 30 expiration, outlasting restrictions in Italy, Spain and China, some of the hardest hit countries in the pandemic.

Friday's extension, announced by President Martin Vizcarra, came as Peru's confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 111,698, the second highest total in Latin America. The death toll stood at 3,244 on Friday.

Vizcarra said the latest and fifth extension, which is more than a month beyond the previous expiration date of May 24, would come with the reopening of certain economic activities, including household appliance sales, hair salons and dental services.

Restrictions on some sports will also be relaxed, including professional soccer, though games will take place in stadiums without an audience.

"We must move to a new coexistence, which allows us as a society to be more caring, more responsible, disciplined, respectful of the minimum standards of behavior so as not to harm the people we love the most," Vizcarra said.


(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Tom Brown)