Peru's low income families, hardest hit by coronavirus, attack poor healthcare standards

Peru's low income families, hardest hit by coronavirus, attack poor healthcare standards

The coronavirus outbreak in Peru, where the number of cases this week surpassed Italy, is hitting the country’s poorest communities the hardest.

A constant flow of mourners have been arriving at the Martires 19 de Julio cemetery, in a deprived part of the capital Lima, since infections soared last month.

It has led some families to question the standard of healthcare provided in makeshift hospitals.

“I know he could have beaten this disease,” said Maribel Montaño, who was burying her father in the cemetery earlier this week.

“But unfortunately, we don’t know what happens inside (the hospital), we don’t know what happens in those tents (erected as makeshift hospitals for patients), we don’t know if they are giving oxygen to all patients, or if there are enough nurses or doctors for all patients.”

Peru reported 3,750 cases on a single day earlier this week and now has over 250,000 cases nationwide, a tally that took it beyond hard-hit Italy.

The Peruvian government had imposed one of Latin America’s earliest coronavirus lockdowns on March 16, but the infection rate still soared in May.

Some analysts said it was because social distancing rules were being routinely flouted in some parts of the country, which put on a strain on Peru’s chronically underfunded healthcare system.

As of Saturday, 7,861 people were reported to have died from coronavirus in the country.

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