Peru to Remove Mandatory Outdoor Mask Requirements for Some Regions

21 April – Yesterday the Council of Ministers announced that the use of masks will not be mandatory in regions where vaccinations have reached more than 80% in the third dose in people over 60 years old and more than 80% in the second dose in people over 12 years old. This will be only in open places and with social distancing, a measure that could be modified according to the epidemiological context.

According to the Ministry of Health (Minsa), the areas of the country with more than 80% of people over 60 years of age vaccinated with the third dose against COVID-19 are Ica (85.1%), Callao (84.9%), Metropolitan Lima (83.5%), Lima Provincias (83.0%) and Ancash (80.7%).

Minsa says that those same departments comply with the second provision, which is to have 80% vaccination coverage with two doses in persons 12 years of age and older. The order is similar, first is Ica, with 95.7%, followed by Callao (93.4%), Lima Provinces (93.2%), Metropolitan Lima (92.5%) and Ancash (92.1%).

The departments of Tumbes (91.5%), Piura (88.4%), La Libertad (88.3%), Moquegua (88.2%), Arequipa (87.4%), Pasco (86.4%), Lambayeque (86.1%), Apurímac (85.6%), Junín (85.4%), Cusco (82.7%) and Cajamarca (81.7%) also have over 80% two-dose coverage in those over 12 years of age, but Minsa made clear that 80% coverage with the third dose must be reached in those over 60 years of age to be eligible for the proposal to remove the mask.

Following the announcement, The dean of the Colegio Médico del Perú (CMP), Raul Urquizo, said approving the optional use of masks in open spaces in areas with 80% vaccination with three doses is totally wrong. He clearly said that the CMP did not recommend that and does recommend that no city complies with that requirement.

After a meeting with the Primie Minister Anibal Torres, Urquizo said that “We had told him that there were regions with 70%, we recommended (to the government) to do more discard tests in general, a monitoring and if the indicators show a rise we had to go back (on lifting measures). There is no department with the third dose at 80%. There was an error of interpretation on the part of the premier. We cannot send distorted messages because people become confident.”

Peru Reaches 50.1% of the Population With 3 Doses of COVID Vaccine

12 April – The Minister of Health, Jorge López Peña, announced that more than 50% of the population has received their third COVID vaccine dose which means 14 million people are now fully vaccinated.

Lopez also said that it is necessary to have more than 80% of the population vaccinated with the third dose in order to evaluate the removal of the masks.

“We still have a large vulnerable group that could be infected and, with that,” he said, “return to having high rates of hospitalized patients, which is why we cannot yet [remove the mask] if we do not reach 80% [of vaccinated with three doses]. We have to reach that, otherwise, we cannot think about lifting restrictions.”

Minister of Health: Masks Will Continue to be Mandatory

12 April – Peru’s new Minister of Health, Jorge Lopez, says that for now masks in public spaces will be continue to be mandatory. Despite the low number of infections and deaths due to COVID-19, mask requirements will continue.

“According to the studies we have from the National Institute of Health and Epidemiology,” said Lopez, “the mask is not going to be removed yet. We cannot do it.”

“We know that we are dropping in the number of cases of patients,” he continued, “but that does not give us the stability that we can have in the face of a new wave. So, it is not going to be withdrawn.”

[Unfortunately, enforcement of mask wearing is non-existent and in many places I’ve traveled to see almost complete disregard for the law. In places like Cusco’s tourist center along with Pisac in the Sacred Valley, large numbers of tourists have long ignored the law, but now even more Peruvians involved in tourism appear to disregard mask wearing requirements. I’ve even seen restaurant staff in Pisac — including cooks who are preparing food — not wearing masks.]

New Rules Published for April

28 March – The Peruvian government issued Supreme Decree N° 030-2022-PCM extending the State of National Emergency “due to the circumstances affecting people’s life and health” as a consequence of COVID-19 and establishing new measures for the reestablishment of social coexistence for the term of 30 calendar days, starting April 1, 2022.

The most important change is the requirement that everyone over the age of 18 mist provide documentation of three vaccine doses to enter private and public places. Masks are still required both outside and inside.

The following restrictions and rules are part of the new law for the month of April:

  • It is mandatory to wear a KN95 mask, or failing that a three-fold surgical mask and on top of this a community mask (cloth), to circulate on public roads and in closed places.
  • Violators of the sanitary provisions and those related to the state of national emergency, who have not paid the fine imposed for infractions committed during the state of national emergency and other regulations issued to protect the life and health of the population due to the contagion of COVID-19, are prevented from carrying out any procedure before any State entity; notwithstanding, persons who are in a situation of vulnerability and are duly registered in the lists of social programs, as well as monetary subsidies, among others, continue to be beneficiaries of any state program of economic support, incentives, food and health, receiving the benefits that correspond to them.
  • Health sector workers must have three doses of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to work in their workplace, due to the high risk of contagion and spread of COVID-19 variants.
  • Peruvians, resident foreigners and non-resident foreigners aged 12 years and older whose final destination is the national territory, as passengers and regardless of their country of origin, must prove that they have received the first and second doses of vaccination against COVID-19 in Peru or abroad, and the third dose for those over 18 years of age who reside in the country and are authorized to receive it, according to the current protocol. Otherwise, they can present a negative molecular test with a result date no more than 48 hours before boarding at their point of origin. Children under 12 years of age only need to be asymptomatic to board. Those persons who show symptoms upon arrival to the national territory enter mandatory isolation, according to regulations on the matter.
  • The National Health Authority is empowered to perform diagnostic tests for COVID-19 on passengers arriving in the country, establishing complementary health measures for positive cases.
  • Passengers of the national air transport service over 12 years of age, residents and non-residents, may only board if they can prove that they have received the first and second doses of vaccination against COVID-19 in Peru or abroad, and the third dose for those over 18 years of age who reside in the country and are authorized to receive it, according to the current protocol. In case they have not completed the required doses according to their age, they must present a negative molecular test with a result date no more than 48 hours before boarding. Children under 12 years of age only need to be asymptomatic to board.
  • Passengers of interprovincial land transportation service over 12 years of age, residents and non-residents, may only board if they can prove they have received the first and second dose of vaccination against COVID-19 in Peru or abroad, and the third dose for those over 18 years of age who reside in the country and are authorized to receive it, according to current protocol; or, failing that, they may present a negative molecular test with a result date no more than 48 hours before boarding. Children under 12 years of age only need to be asymptomatic to board.
  • Urban and interprovincial passenger transportation services are provided in compliance with the guidelines approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications for the prevention of COVID-19.
  • All interprovincial and urban land transportation passengers must comply with the rules on mask use, as well as the corresponding protocols.
  • Drivers and collectors of all public transportation services, as well as drivers providing delivery, cab and private transportation services for personnel and tourism may only operate if they can prove they have received, in Peru and/or abroad, the three doses of vaccination against COVID-19, provided they are authorized to receive it, according to the current protocol.
  • Residents over 18 years of age who enter shopping centers, shopping malls, department stores, department stores, general stores, conglomerates, stores supplying basic necessities, supermarkets, markets, restaurants and the like in indoor areas, casinos, slot machines, cinemas, theaters, banks, financial institutions, churches, temples, places of worship, libraries, museums, cultural centers, art galleries, clubs, sports association premises, hairdressers, barbershops, spas, Turkish baths, sauna, thermal baths, gymnasiums, sauna, thermal baths, gymnasiums and so on, sauna, thermal baths, gymnasiums, notary offices, user service offices, administrative procedures and public and private institutions, as well as professional associations, must present their physical or virtual card that certifies having received, in Peru and/or abroad, the three doses of vaccination against COVID-19, as long as they are authorized to receive it, according to current protocol, in addition to wearing a mask permanently, according to the conditions indicated in this Supreme Decree.
  • In the case of restaurants or similar, the mask(s) may be removed only when the food is eaten.
  • Any person who performs in-person work activities must accredit having received the three doses of vaccination against COVID-19, as long as he/she is authorized to receive them, according to the current protocol, being valid the vaccines administered both in Peru and abroad.
  • In the case of service providers in the private sector who do not have the three doses of vaccination against COVID-19, they must provide services through the remote work modality. When the nature of the work is not compatible with remote work, the suspension of the employment contract, without payment of salary, shall be understood to have occurred in accordance with the first paragraph of article 11 and paragraph ll) of article 12 of the Sole Ordered Text of Legislative Decree No. 728, Law on Labor Productivity and Competitiveness, approved by Supreme Decree No. 003-97-TR, unless the parties agree to the imperfect suspension of the labor relationship. By ministerial resolution, the Ministry of Health, in coordination with the Ministry of Labor and Employment Promotion, may establish exceptions and complementary provisions. It is the employer’s obligation to verify compliance with the provisions set forth in this paragraph.
  • In the case of public sector workers who do not have the three doses of vaccination against COVID-19, the provisions of the Sole Final Complementary Provision of Emergency Decree No. 055-2021 and the complementary provisions issued by the Ministry of Health, in coordination with the National Authority of the Civil Service, are applicable.
  • For a maximum period of fifteen calendar days as of the entry into force of this Supreme Decree, service providers in the private sector and public sector workers who do not have the third dose may continue to work in person.
  • The verification of the physical or virtual card that proves compliance with the application of the vaccination against COVID-19, in Peru and/or abroad, must be carried out together with an official identity document.
  • For the use of beaches, rivers, lakes, lagoons and swimming pools, those over 12 years of age must present the physical or virtual card that certifies having applied, in Peru or abroad, the first and second doses of vaccination against COVID-19, additionally requiring the third dose for those over 18 years of age, who are qualified to receive it according to current protocol.
  • Local governments, in coordination with the Regional Governments and their respective Regional Health Directorates, may even close beaches, rivers, lakes, lagoons and swimming pools, in case of non-compliance with the corresponding regulations.
  • To enter the coliseums and sports stadiums, those over 12 years of age must present their physical or virtual card that proves they have received the first and second doses of vaccination against COVID-19, requiring the third dose for those over 18 years of age.
  • In all cases the permanent use of a KN95 mask is mandatory, or in its absence a three-fold surgical mask and on top of this a community mask (cloth).

Three Vaccine Dose Requirement Coming to Peru

24 March – Last night the Ministry of Health released the following press release:

All citizens over 18 years of age must have three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter any public or private establishment, as agreed tonight in the Council of Ministers at the proposal of the Ministry of Health (Minsa).

Minister Hernán Condori Machado indicated that this measure is necessary to protect the population from the pandemic since, although the number of infections has decreased, there may still be a resurgence.

It was reported that the supreme decree formalizing this measure will be published in the next few days by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in the official newspaper El Peruano.

It should be noted that different scientific studies have shown that the antibodies provided by vaccines against COVID-19, or by disease, decay in the following months; moreover, in the case of the omicron variant, three doses are necessary to acquire adequate protection.

The head of Minsa announced that, in order to facilitate the vaccination of those over 18 years of age, vaccination centers will remain open for 36 hours this weekend.

According to public information, to date, 11,935,794 third doses have been applied to people over 18 years of age in the country, when the total population of this age group is 24,964,920.

In a press conference, Prime Minister Anibal said this measure will go into effect on April 1.

Torres urged those who still do not have the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to get their third dose. He also pointed out that this measure includes public sector workers and warned that anyone who does not have all three doses could lose their job.

“As we have said the vaccine is not mandatory, “said Torres, “but whoever makes the decision not to be vaccinated has no right to harm others. People who, for example, work in the public sector and who do not have the three doses, cannot return to work and run the risk of losing their job.”

The Minister of Health indicated that this obligatory nature will lead more people to seek immunization against COVID-19. He specified that vaccination centers are seeing fewer people than in previous weeks due to a “false sense of security” of those who have two doses of the vaccine.

He added that 16 cases of the BA2 Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been detected in Peru since the end of January, for which reason the third dose will be required, not as a booster dose, but as part of the traditional scheme. In this line, the Executive indicated that the possibility of applying a fourth booster dose is being evaluated.

The BA2 variant is 85% more contagious than the extremely contagious original Omicron variant. Right now 47.8% of the population over 18 years of age has received the third vaccine dose.

“They have to get it (the vaccine) to be able to enter the coliseums, the stadiums, their work activities, when they are going to travel to the national territories, at the entrance to closed environments, to all the shopping centers, they have to present their vaccination card with the third dose”, said the Minister of Health.

There was no mention of acceptance of recent negative PCR tests being used in place of the third dose, but that may be included in the final Decree.

Peru Removes All Capacity Limits

28 February – The Peruvian administration has removed capacity restrictions imposed on businesses, entertainment centers and institutions that have been in place throughout the country for nearly two years through Supreme Decree No. 016-2022-PCM that was officially published yesterday.

The Decree extended the national state of emergency for 32 days “due to the circumstances that affect the life and health of people as a result of the COVID-19”, but no longer mentioned the restrictions that were imposed so far, which gradually increased the capacities of 40%, 60% and 80%, according to the conditions in each region.

Beginning Monday, February 28, all those over 18 years of age who enter closed spaces will have to present their physical or virtual card that proves they have completed the vaccination scheme, while those over 40 years of age will also have to have the booster dose.

This proposal had the favorable position of the Ministries of Health (Minsa) and Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur), although national and international health organizations expressed their reservations and warned that there could be a general increase in the number of cases.

The regulation recalled that during the emergency period the exercise of the constitutional rights to personal freedom and security, the inviolability of the home and the freedom of assembly and transit in the national territory are restricted.

Among the measures to be maintained is the mandatory use of a KN95 mask or two simple masks in open and closed public spaces, and the suspension of parades, parties and all meetings involving crowds of people.

In addition, it is indicated that health sector workers must be fully vaccinated and have the booster dose to perform their duties in person “due to the high risk of contagion and spread of the COVID-19 variants”.

Travelers must also prove the complete vaccination schedule or present a negative molecular test with a maximum of 48 hours for national and international flights, as well as in interprovincial land transportation.

The Ministry of Health (Mins)a reported that the Government established “extraordinary measures” that will allow it to expand its services and have the availability of human resources to maintain the operational capacity of the health system in the face of the pandemic.

Health Ministry to Propose End to Capacity Controls

Hernán Condori

19 February – Peru’s embattled Health Minister, Hernán Condori, has said that the Ministry of Health (Minsa) will propose ending capacity controls and opening everything up to 100% with the aim of “favoring the entire trade” and which he said “will favor commerce and tourism.”

“I am preparing the technical document that I am going to present in a session of the Council of Ministers, on Wednesday, in order to have the 100% capacity approved so that the economy can be reactivated,” he said.

Almost immediately his comments were denounced as a “populist” measure being put forward while Peru is still undergoing the third wave of COVID-19.

Condori said that the proposal was already being evaluated with the Vice-Minister of Health, Gustavo Rosell, and there was evidence supporting the proposal though he didn’t share the claimed evidence.

“I will present in Council session for the approval of a law,” Condori said. “Already with the vice minister Rosell this issue has been evaluated and he has told me that it is possible to give 100% of the capacity in different places…There is a technical support and if approved, it will favor Peru’s economy.”

Critics have accused Condori of putting forth a populist proposal to deflect from the questions that arose following his appointment regarding his qualifications for the position.

According to Alexis Holguin, Minsa’s general director of Strategic Interventions, there is currently an ongoing study about removing mask requirements in Peru which have also been criticized as populist and demagogic during the current COVID wave and just before the resumption of in-person classes which could be jeopardized by another rise in viral cases.

New Rules for Peru Begin Today

14 February – The new rules and provincial Risk Level Designations for Peru went into effect today and there was a collective yawn as almost no one notices anymore. The new rules were officially published under Supreme Decree 184-2020-PCM in El Peruano.

It appears that little changed from the previous restrictions and designations except, most notably, Lima and Callao moved to the Moderate Risk Level.

Minsa Changes Vaccination Booster Recommendation

31 January – Yesterday evening the Ministry of Health (Minsa) released the following press release:

Minsa: booster dose will be requested to those who have been vaccinated more than 3 months after completing their regular vaccination

Regarding the need to demonstrate that the booster dose has been received in order to perform various public activities, enter closed public spaces, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) specifies the following:

1. as of January 31, all persons over 40 years of age must show their vaccination card proving that they received the booster dose against COVID-19.

2. This requirement does not apply to those who, being 40 years of age or older, have had their second dose within the last three months and therefore are not yet eligible for their booster dose.

3. Restaurants, shopping malls, markets, interprovincial air and ground transportation companies and other entities are urged to take into account this exception to avoid creating unnecessary problems for those who cannot yet receive their booster dose due to the date on which they completed their normal vaccination schedule.

4. Ground and air transportation companies are reminded that passengers who have not been fully vaccinated may present a negative molecular test taken 48 hours in advance.

– Press Release No. 833

Last Few Days Have Seen Signs of COVID Improvements Across Peru

29 January – Without going into analysis of the data, there are clear signs that Peru may have reached the peak of the current wave of COVID spread. While deaths each day are still at an extremely high number compared to just a few weeks ago, positivity rates of testing is showing a decreasing trend over the past few days.

Just because there is a slight trend of lessening spread, COVID is still spreading at a rate unseen at any previous point in nearly two years.

I’ll do a much more detailed report and analysis of all the current data at the end of the month.

EsSalud Reports Child COVID Cases Up Nearly 50%

28 January – So far in January, 856 children aged 0 to 11 years were hospitalized for Covid-19 in EsSalud health facilities nationwide — an increase of almost 50% over December, 2021, which had a total of 599 hospital admissions in this age range, reported Seguro Social.

To date, 311 children are hospitalized due to the coronavirus, of which 15 minors are fighting for their lives in an ICU bed. Seven pediatric patients have died due to complications of the disease.

In the first two weeks of January, more than 12,000 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 were recorded in children aged 0 to 11 years. The increase in the number of infected children was highest in the 5 to 9 years age group, which registered a total of 5,175 cases.

In addition to Lima and Callao, the increase was also observed in Ancash, Arequipa, Cajamarca, Cusco, Huanuco, Ica, Junin, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Moquegua, Pasco, Piura and Puno.

In view of this situation, EsSalud urged parents to take their children to be vaccinated against Covid-19, a process that began last Monday in the capital and in some cities of the country. (On the first day of the start of the immunization process, Social Security immunized 4616 children in the vaccination centers of Lima and Callao.)

EsSalud has ten vaccination centers in Lima and Callao where children and adults can receive the antigen that protects them from the coronavirus. These are Playa Miller (Jesús María), San Isidro Labrador (Santa Anita), Polideportivo de San Borja, Estadio Municipal de Surquillo, Estadio Monumental (Ate), Parque de las Leyendas (San Miguel), Aljovín (Cercado de Lima), Plaza Norte (Independencia), Real Felipe (Callao) and Complejo Deportivo Municipal de San Isidro. The opening hours are from 7am to 7pm, with the exception of Parque de las Leyendas, which is open from 7am to 4pm, and Playa Miller, from 6am to 10pm.

Peru to End Curfew

26 January – As of tomorrow (Thursday) there will no longer be a curfew in Peru according to the Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos which was approved in the session of the Council of Ministers today.

“The first novelty,” said Cevallos, “is that the curfew, which existed until now from 00.00 hours until 04.00 hours, is suspended. This is annulled, therefore there is no more curfew in our country…. This is from the date the supreme decree comes into effect, it is tomorrow.”

Cevallos said that this measure seeks to reduce the crowds that used to form in commercial premises and in public transportation units in order to be able to get home before the curfew starts.

“This week we have had more than 350,000 confirmed infections,” he said, “and really putting the curfew that is going to generate the rush of many people to take means of transport and the increase of agglomerations, we have believed convenient, in this new sanitary reality, to suspend the curfew.”

He clarified that this disposition does not mean a relaxation of the biosecurity measures against the COVID-19, and that the restrictions and capacity in the zones according to their alert level are maintained, such as those which provide for the prohibition of meetings, parties and agglomerations.

The decree will also include a provision that people 40 years of age and older must present their vaccination card with the three doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 to enter closed public places. (Currently it is for those 50 years of age and older.)

Cevallos also said that another provision included in the supreme decree is to increase up to 50% the capacity in stadiums in areas with high alert level, as is the case of Lima and Callao, and that people entering must prove they have received a booster dose of the vaccine against COVID-19.

Once the decree is actually published — likely tomorrow morning — I’ll give a more detailed report on all that is included.

Omicron Now Dominates Cusco as Cases Skyrocket

22 January – The omicron variant is dominant in the Cusco region with up to 80 percent of confirmed infections in recent weeks. according to the director of the office of Health Intelligence of the Regional Health Management (Geresa), Dario Navarro.

According to reports from the Geresa Cusco, almost 80% of the more than 15 thousand infections recorded in the first two weeks of the year correspond to the new variant.

“The predominant variant now is omicron,” said Navarro in an interview with RPP Noticias. “So, of the 15 thousand positives, 75 or 80% are omicron, which explains the accelerated increase of cases.”

The provinces of Cusco, La Convención, and Urubamba are the ones with the highest number of confirmed cases of the disease.

In spite of the wave of infections, a percentage of Cusco citizens resist vaccination. According to data from Geresa Cusco, 85% of the population of nearly 1.2 million people received the first dose of vaccines, 71 % the second dose, but only 11 % the third dose.

In the 20-29 age group, only 57% received the two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 from Astra Zeneca and Pfizer with only only 1% receiving their booster dose.

In the 30-39 age group, 71% of people received two doses from Sinopharm with only 7% receiving a third dose.

In the 40-49 age group 80% received two doses and only 13% have received a third dose.

According to the regional manager of Salud Cusco, Javier Ramirez Escobar, people from 12 to 49 years old are the ones who occupy the most hospital beds and the Intensive Care Unit. “This third wave is from people who have not been vaccinated or those who have not completed their vaccination,” he explained.

With this morning’s report, about 2 out of 5 people test positive for COVID-19. (Testing far exceeds what it has during the entire pandemic, too.) Hospitalizations continue to rise dramatically in the last few days. Deaths were reported for the past two days in a row for the first time since November 1 — nearly doubling January’s total.

Vaccinated People Under 60 and Without Comorbidities Will Have Fewer Isolation Days

21 January – The Ministry of Health (Minsa), through Ministerial Resolution No. 018-2022-MINSA, published a new protocol with the indications to be followed by people who have symptoms or have had close contact with people infected with COVID-19 to take care of their health and prevent the spread of the pandemic in the country.

The protocol provides differentiated indications for two large groups of people according to their relative risk level for COVID-19.

People who have not been fully vaccinated, those over 60 years of age or those with comorbidities are considered to be at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease.

If they present symptoms such as fever, sore throat or cough, they can go to a Covid Point where an antigenic test will be taken. In addition, these symptomatic persons should remain in isolation for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

On the other hand, if these persons live with a person who has COVID-19, they should remain in isolation for at least 7 days, which can be suspended on the fifth day if a negative molecular test is taken on the third day of isolation.

Persons considered to be at lower risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease are those who are fully vaccinated (three doses), those under 60 years of age, and those who do not have comorbidities.

If this group of persons is symptomatic, they should be in isolation for 7 days, even if they have tested positive for COVID-19. Isolation is counted from the date on which the molecular or antigenic test was taken.

Likewise, if they live with a person with COVID-19, this group may continue with their daily activities, always using two masks (one surgical mask plus one cloth mask) or a KN95. If symptoms are present, they should be isolated for 7 days.

Finally, the new regulation indicates that all persons should go to the nearest hospital or call Line 113 in case of respiratory distress or oxygen saturation below 95%.

Almost All COVID Cases in Lima are Omicron

18 January – The director of the National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC), of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), Cesar Munayco, said Monday that 90% of cases of COVID-19 in Metropolitan Lima are from the Omicron variant.

“The National Institute of Health has been able to clearly identify that at least in Lima there are 90 % of the samples evaluated for the variants is predominantly omicron and in the provinces we are already around 70 %.” Munayco said in an interview with the program Nada Está Dicho.

Munayco said the CDC has been observed that the number of coronavirus infections will continue to increase in the following weeks. He also said that Minsa is changing some regulations to reduce the isolation time for people with COVID-19.

“Basically,” said Munayco, “what we are seeing at the moment is what happened during the holiday season. The movement of people at parties and the lack of accountability. We’re seeing just this holiday behavior.”

Council of Ministers Publish Charts on New Rules

18 January – Nearly a day after the new rules for Peru went into effect across the country, the Council of Ministers published clear charts showing these rules. (Previous administration published these charts at the time the rules were announced — usually several days before they were to go into effect. The current rules, which included several major and unannounced changes, were announced literally minutes before they officially went into effect.)

New Rules Published Minutes Before Going Into Effect (Again)

Peru’s Castillo administration once again published new rules for the country a few minutes before they went into effect last night. Supreme Decree 005-2022-PCM goes into effect today and will last through January 30.

Under the new Decree, eighteen more provinces were added to the High Risk Alert Level designation thanks to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The biggest surprise in the new rules is a shortening of curfew hours by one hour. Provinces under High Risk Alert Levels will now see the nightly curfew running from midnight until 4 am. (The rest of the country will still continue with a 2 am to 4 am curfew.)

Tthe 42 provinces in high alert level are: Arequipa, Camana, Islay, Huanuco, Leoncio Prado, Cajamarca, Jaen, Huamanga, Tacna, Jorge Basadre, Ilo, Mariscal Nieto, Ica, Chincha, Pisco, Palpa, Huancayo, Satipo, Chanchamayo.Likewise, Tarma, Huaura, Cañete, Barranca, Huaral, Huarochirí, Lima, Callao, Piura, Talara, Paita, Sullana, Sechura, Morropón, Chiclayo, Lambayeque, Ferreñafe, Santa, Huaraz, Cusco, La Convención, Urubamba, Trujillo and Pacasmayo.

The other big change, beginning January 23, is that people age 50 and over will be required to present proof of having received a third (booster) vaccination dose in order to enter enclosed spaces and to travel when using either interprovincial land transportation or domestic air travel. (A negative molecular test no earlier han 48 hours prior to boarding is still accepted in place of proof of vaccination.)

Other travel and mask rules did not change.

Proof of vaccination is still required to enter enclosed spaces for anyone aged 18 and older though, at least in Cusco, this rule is almost universally ignored and not enforced.

These places are now defined as: shopping malls, commercial galleries, department stores, stores in general, conglomerates, stores supplying basic necessities, supermarkets, markets, restaurants and related in indoor areas, casinos, slot machines, cinemas, theaters, banks, financial institutions, churches, temples, places of worship, libraries, museums, cultural centers, art galleries, clubs, premises of sports associations, hairdressers, barbershops, spa, Turkish baths, saunas, thermal baths, coliseums, gymnasiums, notary offices, user service offices, administrative procedures, and public and private institutions, as well as professional associations

COVID and Health News

17 January

COVID Cases Exploding Among Younger Adults

15 JanuaryAndina News reports this morning that 11,650 new COVID-19 infections were recorded in young people aged 20 to 24 years of age in the first week of January — an increase of 430% compared to the 2,197 cases detected in the last week of December, reported the EsSalud Data Intelligence and Analysis Unit.

Dante Cersso, head of the EsSalud Unit, noted that in the age range of 20 to 29 years only 1 out of every 5 young people has gone for the booster dose (third dose).

Cersso also said that in the first week of January, adults between 30 and 59 years of age saw an increase of 274% — 12,452 to 46,586 new cases. For older adults (60 years and older), the number of infected people went from 2,190 two weeks ago to 7,247 new cases — an increase of 231%.

Cersso also said that a consecutive increase in cases was identified during the last three weeks in eight regions of the country: Lima (from 6,763 to 51,942 new cases), Callao (from 342 to 4,146 new cases), Lambayeque (from 324 to 3,384 new cases), La Libertad (from 534 to 2,878 new cases), Ancash (from 468 to 2,692 new cases), Moquegua (from 61 to 2,637 new cases), Amazonas (from 170 to 483 new cases) and Tumbes (from 56 to 167 new cases).

“The presence of the omicron variant,” said Cersso, “the crowds during the end-of-year festivities and the inadequate use of masks (or even not using them) are the main factors in the increase of infections.”

The chart below includes the latest data released by the Ministry of Health last night sows that COVID is spreading across Peru at an incredible rate. While not as fast, hospitalizations have increased by 46.4% since the start of the year.

Major New Requirements for People Over Age 50 Coming to Peru

The Ministry of Health (Minsa) announced that, beginning January 23, people over the age of 50 will have to provide documentation of having received three vaccine doses to enter enclosed spaces.

“In the case of people over 50 years of age, they should present their booster dose, because this pandemic affects the unvaccinated and people with comorbidities,” said Hernando Cevallos, Minister of Health. “We have to protect this sector.”

Regarding vaccination with booster doses, the Minister indicated that to date 5,548,136 people have received the booster dose, of which 53.3% are people over 60 years of age and people with comorbidities.

Another of the main modifications of the Supreme Decree 184-2020, is that 35 provinces of the country, in addition to Metropolitan Lima and Callao, have a high risk level: Arequipa, Camaná, Islay, Huánuco, Leoncio Prado, Cajamarca, Jaén, Huamanga, Tacna, Jorge Basadre, Ilo, Mariscal Nieto, Ica, Chincha, Pisco, Palpa, Huancayo, Satipo, Chanchamayo, Barranca, Huaral, Huarochirí, Piura, Talara, Paita, Sullana, Sechura, Morropón, Chiclayo, Lambayeque, Ferreñafe, Santa, Huaraz, Cusco, La Convención, Urubamba.

Cevallos pointed out that the coverage of the target population with the first dose increased to 88.9 %, and the coverage with two doses increased to 83.7 %.

He also reiterated that most intensive care beds are occupied by people who are not vaccinated or did not complete their doses.

“More than 90% of the patients who have died are unvaccinated or had incomplete vaccination,” warned Cevallos. “The non-vaccination is the sector that is filling the intensive care units.”

More Provinces Added to High Risk Alert Level

13 January – The Ministry of Health announced new additions to the High Risk Alert Level designation this afternoon. New provinces across Peru (and the region in which they are found) are:

  • Arequipa, Camana and Islay (Arequipa)
  • Huanuco and Leoncio Prado (Huanuco)
  • Cajamarca and Jaen (Cajamarca)
  • Huamanga (Ayacucho)
  • Tacna and Jorge Basadre (Tacna)
  • Ilo and Mariscal Nieto (Moquegua)
  • Ica, Chincha, Pisco and Palpa (Ica)
  • Huancayo, Satipo and Chanchamayo (Junin)
  • Barranca, Huaral and Huarochiri (Lima provinces)
  • Piura, Talara, Paita, Sullana, Sechura and Morropon (Piura)
  • Chiclayo, Lambayeque and Ferreñafe (Lambayeque)
  • Santa and Huaraz (Ancash)
  • Cusco, La Convencion and Urubamba (Cusco)
  • Lima Metropolitan Area
  • Callao region

Besides the 11 pm to 4 am curfew each night, these provinces have increased restrictions on the capacity allowed in different venues as described here:
It appears that the current designations and restrictions are still scheduled through this coming Sunday, 16 January. Updated regulations are expected in the next few days.

COVID Quarantine Time Reduced in Lima and Callao

12 January – Peru’s Minister of Health, Hernandeo Cevallos, announced this morning that, in Metropolitan Lima and Callao, the mandatory quarantine time for individuals infected with COVID-19 has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days effective tomorrow, 13 January.

“It was decided to reduce in Metropolitan Lima and Callao, where the omicron variant is the predominant one with almost 82% of cases, to reduce the isolation time to 10 days,” said Cevallos.

Cevallos also said that the rest of the country is being evaluated according to the increase in the number of cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Latest Data: Unprecedented COVID Spread Across Peru

11 January – Here are the latest charts showing how COVID is spreading rapidly across Peru and Cusco (where I live). Fortunately, ICU hospitalizations and deaths are not going up yet but they are considering “trailing indicators” and possibly will start to show some increases soon, particularly among the unvaccinated.

Minsa Issues Conflicting Vaccination Numbers

Photo courtesy of Minsa

1 January – Last night Peru’ Ministry of Health reported two separate numbers for the separate numbers for the same total calling into question the accuracy and even the credibility of their reporting.

At 2:55 pm the Ministry of Health published a press release saying that 80.04% of the target population (people age 12 and older) are now vaccinated with two doses. Emphasis was on celebrating the goal that the Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, has been predicting for months.

Interestingly, there were no supporting numbers produced anywhere in the lengthy press release even though reports coming from Minsa on the vaccination progress included detailed numbers every day for months.

There was however a lot of bac-slapping and mention of political figures including the President and the Prime Minister along with a number of celebratory photos.

The Ministry of Health (Minsa) closed the year with great progress in the vaccination process against COVID-19. The President of the Republic, Pedro Castillo Terrones, announced that 80.04% of the population aged 12 years and older have received their two doses.

The Head of State made this announcement during the ceremony held at the National Sports Village – Videna, where the “Balance of the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19, in 2021” was presented.

– Minsa Press Release

About three hours later the Ministry of Health released the usual graphic as it has every day for months with updated numbers. As the vaccination rate has been increasing about 1% every 5-7 days, there simply was no way that there could be such a great jump so quickly. That was confirmed by Minsa’s latest numbers which said that only 78% of the target population is fully vaccinated. (Remember, this was released after the big celebration led by President Castillo, Prime Minister Vasquez, and Health Minister Cevallos.)

It will be interesting to see if Minsa explains this discrepancy, but, based on their past inclination to completely ignore obvious questions, I don’t expect and explanation.

The most obvious conclusion is that one post was a factual and transparent report on data — something that Minsa has proven to be very competent in reporting throughout the pandemic. The other press release was likely a response to political pressure to “show” that Peru had met it’s goals even if it was apparently a clear lie.

The sad part is that it’s not even necessary.

Reaching 78% is a monumental achievement considering the late start that the country had and all the challenges in acquiring vaccines. Both the Sagasti and Castillo administrations did an amazing job of acquiring vaccines amidst massive world demand. The Ministry of Health and thousands of health workers across the country worked tirelessly to get vaccines in the arms of Peruvians even in the most remote locations.

Why they would celebrate inaccurate figures just two points higher instead of honestly celebrating an achievement that all of Peru should be proud of is beyond me.

Unvaccinated Over 60 Are 21x More Likely to Die From COVID

According to data released from Peru’s Ministry of Health (Minsa), people over age 60 who are not vaccinated are 21 times more likely to die from COVID. (Data from the Instituto Nacional de Salud.)

INS Estimates Omicron Variant Spreading Rapidly

29 DecemberRPP Noticias reports that Peru’s National Institute of Health (INS) estimates that almost 17% of COVID cases in Lima and Callao are now caused by the Omicron variant.

“We are using a molecular test that allows us to detect a mutation that is very frequent in omicron,” said the head of the INS to Espacio Vital on RPP, “and we are using it basically in Lima and Callao. What we have found is that 17% of the positive cases in Lima and Callao have the presence of this mutation.”

According to Suarez, when they analyzed the samples with this mutation in the first weeks of December, they did not find any cases of omicron.

“However, we have found that in the last weeks 85% of the samples with this mutation belong to omicron,” said Suarez. “That is, if we continue on this path, probably next week, 17% of the cases of COVID, or on the way to 20%, could already be attributed to omicron in Lima and Callao.”

For Suarez, this percentage shows the speed with which this variant is transmitted. “What we are observing in some districts is an increase in the number of cases,” he said.

The first infections, he says, were detected in more affluent areas of Lima such as La Molina, Miraflores, Surco and San Isidro; however, now “it is spreading to other more peripheral districts”.

Fortunately, all the cases reported so far “have presented mild symptoms, as reported in the literature so far….We hope that these first cases will continue to evolve favorably and hopefully, as in other countries, the severity will be less severe, but with such a significant increase in the number of cases of this variant, there is a risk that it will saturate the health services due to the number of patients that there may be.”

Omicron Continue to Spread in Peru

26 December – The Ministry of Health (Minsa) announced that a total of 22 new people infected with the omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected this Sunday in Metropolitan Lima and Sullana, Piura, bringing the total number of cases in Peru to 71.
The Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos said, “We have identified 22 new cases of omicron: 19 are from Metropolitan Lima, detected by the laboratory of the National Health Institute (INS) and a private clinic.”

“In the Piura region, 3 cases have been identified from Sullana, apparently all are from a single family,” said Cevallos. “The sequencing of these samples was carried out by the INS mobile laboratory established in Piura.”

The contagiousness of the omicron variant is really accelerated, said Cevallos who noted that there is a case of a patient detected in Lima, but who moved to Trujillo, La Libertad, which is why the alarm has been raised in La Libertad to detect contacts, family members and their displacement to make the epidemiological encirclement.

Cevallos asked the public to get vaccinated, avoid crowds, use masks and keep a distance of 1.5 meters from other people. He indicated that, although the Health sector has expanded its capacity to attend COVID-19 patients, a wave of contagions could surpass it. It should be noted that 75% of ICU beds are currently occupied in several hospitals in Lima and the regions.

According to Minsa data, there are still about 5 million people who should be vaccinated and have not done so. The Minister explained that two doses of any vaccine protect against the risk of severe cases of the disease, while the booster dose reduces the possibility of infection.

Omicron Case Total Rises to 47

23 December – The head of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), Hernando Cevallos, reported that the number of confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has increased to 47 in the last 36 hours.

The ages of the infected people range from 9 to 77 years old and come from at least 16 districts of Lima. No cases have yet been confirmed in the regions, although it is likely that the variant is already present in the interior of the country.

“The cases of omicron have increased” said Cevallos. “We now have 47 confirmed cases in the country. This variant is very contagious and is transmitted rapidly. We have not detected it in regions, but it is quite likely that it exists.”

The last confirmed cases are contacts of the first 12 infections and the rest are relatively new patients. Cevallos warned of the possibility that the omicron variant is having a community presence in the country.

Cevallos also notified that none of the cases has been complicated to date thanks to the fact that they have been vaccinated. “For now, the patients are not hospitalized. They do not present complications. They are patients of different ages. There is a percentage of them who are vaccinated and they are monitored.”

Alcohol, Food Prohibited at Beaches/Pools During Holidays

23 December – The administration announced yesterday the sale and consumption of food and alcohol will be prohibited at beaches and swimming pools on December 25-26 and January 1-2.

Also, Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, said that proof of vaccination would be required at beaches.

The curfew on Christmas Eve and New years Eve will begin at 11 pm and continue through 4 am.

Fourth Vaccine Booster Dose Under Consideration

21 December – Peru’s Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, said that the administration is considering a fourth vaccination dose beginning wth front line health care workers and people 60 years of age and older.

In an interview with RPP’s Espacio Vital program, Cevallos explained that the current effectiveness of vaccines decreases in three or four months, it is necessary “to think about the provision of a new booster”.

Peru to Receive 24 Million Vaccine Doses for Children in January

21 December – Yesterday President Castillo announced that 14 million doses of COVID vaccines will arrive next month specifically targeted at children age 5 to 11. Application of these vaccines will be part of the country’s push to resume in-person classes when the new school year begins in March.

This is part of a total purchase of 35 million Pfizer vaccines in the country’s latest agreement with the Pfizer company.

Casillo also said that Peru has signed an agreement with Moderna for 20 million doses in 2022 along with other donations that various countries have made through the COVAX program.

Peru Reaches 75% Vaccination Milestone

20 December – The Ministry of Health (Minsa) announced that 75% of the population age 12 and older — nearly 20.1 million — are now fully vaccinated with two doses.

Also announced was that nearly 2.4 million people have received their third vaccination dose.

It will be interesting to watch how the announcement that the extremely transmissible Omicron variant has been confirmed in Peru will affect how vaccinations. (There were 200,465 vaccine doses applied in the previous 24 hours.)

Omicon Confirmed in Peru

20 December – Peru’s Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, confirmed yesterday that four people have tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the country. [NOTE: This morning RPP Noticias is reported that the number of confirmed cases has risen to 12 indicating the rapid transmissibility of this variant.]

The cases are already being monitored by the National Institute of Health (INS) to know their itinerary and identify the people with whom they had contact.

“All measures have been taken in the case, the follow-up is being done, search for contacts and at this moment the INS and all Minsa agencies are moving to know the itinerary that these people have followed, if they have attended meetings, and establish an effective epidemiological fence,” said Cevallos.

In addition to the four confirmed cases, the minister indicated that there are two other probable cases of omicron. These are people who had contact with the infected persons. They have already undergone the corresponding tests to know which variant they carry.

“There are two other people who have been in contact with them and have tested positive to the PCR test and we are starting the follow-up to see if this positivity belongs to delta, which is the most frequent, or if it corresponds to omicron”, said Cevallos.

Nearby countries such as Chile, Brazil and Ecuador have already reported confirmed cases of omicron.

In response, the Ministry of Health (Minsa), through the National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC), issued an epidemiological alert to public and private health facilities

The National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC) has detailed a series of actions for dissemination, implementation and compliance in order to intensify epidemiological surveillance and genomic surveillance in the country.

The CDC stressed the need to close vaccination gaps in order to achieve optimal coverage above 90% in first and second doses, as well as booster vaccination with the third dose.

Cevallos called for compliance with basic general prevention measures such as physical distancing, use of double masks, hand washing, ventilation of spaces and not attending social events with crowds of people.

Cevallos reiterated to the population the importance of completing their vaccination against COVID-19, since the vaccine is the most effective way to avoid becoming seriously ill.

“Omicron is a variant that has been declared by the WHO as worrying because of its speed of contagion and because it generates a degree of immunological leakage mocking the effectiveness of the vaccine, then that is more than enough for all of us to get vaccinated. The vaccine turns out to be the most effective tool to avoid the aggravation of the patients in each of the variants”, the Minister pointed out.

No Omicron Found in Peru So Far

18 December – In an interview with RPP Noticias, the head of the National Institute of Health (INS), Victor Suarez, said that no cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been detected in Peru. He also said that for more than 9 weeks the Delta variant has made up 90% of the sequenced samples of COVID-19 cases nationwide.

According to Suarez, “Even in the last week, 98% of the cases that we have analyzed correspond to the delta variant, which means that it has totally displaced the gamma, lambda and mu variants that we had here. There are even regions in which 100 % of the samples we analyze are of the delta variant. At the moment it is the predominant variant.”

“To date we have not been able to identify this omicron variant,” continued Suarez. “We do the complete sequencing of the entire genetic sequence of the virus and with that we can know if there is or there is not omicron. To date, we still do not have any. That is why we are increasing our sequencing capacity with new equipment.”

Suarez noted that currently 380 samples are sequenced per week across Peru, compared to the 50 recommended by the WHO. He also said that 7% of the positive cases for COVID-19 are monitored in the country with international experts recommending at least 1-5%.

“We are within the group of countries,” continued Suarez, “that are doing an adequate number of genetic sequencing for the surveillance of variants, obviously it will never be enough because there are many cases and new variants that are being introduced, so we are taking actions to increase the detection of these.”

The Ministry of Health said a few days ago that in regions such as Ancash and Lambayeque there is an increase in cases of COVID-19. However, at the national level, there is a slowdown in the number of hospitalizations.

For those regions seeing an increase in cases, researcher César Munayco, director of Public Health Surveillance of the National Epidemiology Center (CDC) of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), said that will go to high risk level and will have greater restrictions on circulation and capacity, as well as the vaccination strategy and “house-to-house” diagnosis.

Regarding the new cases, Munayco indicated that most of the people who are hospitalized in the ICU — between 92% and 95% — do not have any dose of the vaccine, while 3% have only one dose and the remaining percentage are people who have two doses (generally older adults).

“That is why it is important the recommendation that they have to get vaccinated because it is one of the most important measures to be able to face this pandemic,” said Munayco. “So far we have not identified any case of omicron in the national territory, but we are vigilant because this new variant has spread rapidly throughout the world.”

Updated data also reveals that 8% of Peruvians have already received the third dose and that there are no outbreaks in schools despite the fact that some of them have already resumed classes.

Poll: Peruvians Approve of New Vaccination Card Requirements

9 December – According to a Datum survey published in the newspaper Gestión, 71% of Peruvians agree with the requirement of a vaccination card to enter enclosed spaces that will go into effect tomorrow, Friday, December 10.

Lima has the highest rates of acceptance (78%) while the eastern part of Peru has the lowest number of people who agree with this measure (55%). In central Peru, 63% of the population support the measures.

The survey also shows that 59% of the people support the return to face-to-face classes in schools and universities as of March 2022.

Beginning tomorrow, December 10, a series of measures as prevention against the new omicron variant will go into effect including the mandatory presentation of a vaccination card with two doses for those over 18 years of age who enter enclosed spaces.

Also, for interprovincial land transportation, two doses of the vaccine or a molecular test within 48 hours will be required for all persons over 18 years of age. For domestic air transportation, any person over 18 years of age must have two doses or a certificate of a molecular test.

Land borders will also close again, in line with similar decisions already taken by neighboring countries. In addition, as from December 10 every company with more than 10 workers in on-site activities must have two doses of the vaccine.

As for public transportation services, drivers and money collectors of all units, as well as delivery service workers, will only be allowed to operate if they can prove that they have received their complete vaccination schedule against COVID-19 in Peru or abroad.

The new curfew schedule for Christmas and New Year will be from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m., except in high-risk provinces, as announced by the Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, in an interview with RPP Noticias.

New Rules Announced for November 29 – December 12

28 November – This morning the Peruvian government announced through Supreme Decree 17-2021-PCM new rules that for the country that go into effect tomorrow and will continue through December 12. The biggest change is the opening of some land borders described below and coming new requirements for air passengers over age 45.

Most of the country remains under the Moderate Risk Alert Level designation, but the following provinces (noted with their region in parenthesis) will be at the High Risk Alert level for the next two weeks

  • Chepén (La Libertad)
  • Concepción (Junín)
  • Huamanga (Ayacucho)
  • Santa (Ancash)
  • Sullana (Piura)
  • Piura (Piura)
  • Sechura (Piura)
  • Huancavelica (Huancavelica)
  • Talara (Piura)
  • Virú (La Libertad)

In the moderate alert levels, the curfew continues form 2:00 – 4:00 am each day.
In the high alert levels, the curfew is extended from 11:00 pm – 4:00 am each day.

Land borders with Chile and Ecuador will be opened for the first time in nearly 2 years. Those wishing to enter Peru must meet the following restrictions similar to international air arrivals:

“Those over 18 years of age who wish to enter the country must prove, physically or digitally, that they have completed their vaccination scheme in Peru and/or abroad. In case they do not have the complete scheme, or cannot prove it, they will be allowed to enter if they prove they have a negative molecular test (PCR), the result of which was obtained within 72 hours before entering Peru. Those persons who show symptoms upon entering the national territory are subject to compulsory isolation, according to regulations on the subject.”

– Section 15.3

Land borders with Colombia, Bolivia, and Brazil will remain closed except for cargo transportation as before.

Also, a new rule will go into effect on December 15 for domestic air passengers over the age of 45:

“As of December 15, 2021, passengers of the national air transport service over 45 years of age, in the four (4) alert levels, will only be able to board if they accredit their complete vaccination dose in Peru or abroad; otherwise, they can present a negative molecular test with a result date no more than 72 hours before boarding.”

Section 14.9

This is in addition to the same requirement previously announced for domestic interprovincial land passengers also beginning on December 15.

Also on December 15 anyone over 18 will be required to provide physical or virtual proof of vaccination when entering “enclosed spaces” and, in the case of restaurants, mass are required except when actual “ingesting” food/drink.

UPDATE: Here are charts released by the Council of Ministers detailing the restrictions in effect through December 12:

New Restrictions and Vaccines Requirements

Yesterday Peru introduced new measures through November 18 in the fight against COVID, but the biggest announcement was through Decreto Supremo 168-2021-PCM which says that, as of December 15, 2021, people over 18 years old who wish to enter “enclosed spaces” will have to present their physical or virtual vaccination card against COVID-19 proving that they have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Also, the use of a mask will be required, according to the conditions indicated in Article 8 of the Supreme Decree. In the case of restaurants, the mask may be removed only at the time of eating the food.

Also, any company with more than 10 workers will be able to operate in person only if all its workers certify that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Drivers and money collectors of public transportation services, as well as those who provide delivery services, will only be able to operate if they prove that they have been fully vaccinated.

New restrictions also were announced that through November 28. Most of the Peru is still under Moderate Level Alert restrictions, but a handful of provinces are under High Alert Level restrictions.

Rules for Peru Updated for 1-14 November

31 October – The Peruvian government announced the extension of emergency self-quarantine and movement restrictions due to COVID-19 effective November 1-14.

Changes to Travel:

  • Beginning November 15, 2021, all passengers age 45 and older using commercial transportation to travel between regions by land must present proof of vaccination to travel.
  • International Air Travel – Peruvians, resident foreigners, and non-resident foreigners 12 years of age or older must present proof of being fully vaccinated 14 days prior to boarding at their point of origin. Peruvians, resident foreigners, and non-resident foreigners 12 years of age or older who are not fully vaccinated must present a molecular test with a negative result (within 72 hours) prior to boarding an incoming flight to Peru, in accordance with current health regulations.
  • Children under 12 years of age must only be asymptomatic prior to boarding an incoming flight to Peru.
  • Peruvian citizens and permanent residents who have traveled from or transited through South Africa must quarantine in their home, lodging, or isolated space for a period of 14 days.
  • All non-Peruvian citizens and non-permanent residents who are traveling from or transiting through South Africa are barred from entering Peru.​

As of November 1, 2021, the provinces of Chanchamayo, Chincha, and Sullana are considered “High Alert” with the following restrictions:

  • Curfew is 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
  • Restaurants may deliver from 4:00 a.m. until 11:00 pm.
  • Pharmacy delivery is available 24 hours.
  • Supermarkets and grocery stores are open at 50% occupancy.
  • Restaurants are open at 50% occupancy.
  • Banks are open at 60% occupancy.
  • Salons, spas, and barbershops at 50% occupancy by appointment.
  • Casinos, gyms, movie theaters, churches are open at 40% occupancy.

All other provinces of Peru are considered as “Moderate Alert” with the following restrictions:

  • Curfew is 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.
  • Restaurants may deliver from 4:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m.
  • Pharmacy delivery is available 24 hours.
  • Beaches are open.
  • Supermarkets and grocery stores are open at 60% occupancy.
  • Restaurants are open at 60% occupancy.
  • Banks are open at 60% occupancy.
  • Salons, spas, and barbershops at 50% occupancy by appointment.
  • Casinos, gyms, movie theaters, churches are open at 50% occupancy.

79% Over Age 60 Now Fully Vaccinated

28 October – Last night the Ministry of Health (Minsa) announced that 79% of the population over age 60 are now fully vaccinated, but they also said that over 175,000 did not receive their second vaccine dose.

Also last night, Minsa reported that 54% of the target population of people over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated.

Older People May Start Receiving Booster Vaccines Next Week

October 26 – Andina News is reporting tat, according to the Ministry of Health, COVID-19 vaccine booster shoots may begin November 1-2 for those over hage 65.

Minsa’s Immunization Director Gabriela Jimenez said that Minsa is verifying that the names of those scheduled for this third dose appear on the Pongo el Hombro (“I Lend a Shoulder”) platform, so that they or their relatives can know the date and place for the administration of the vaccine.

Jimenez said that 1,920,820 people in this age group are registered and that they are eligible to receive a booster dose if they have received received the second dose 180 days or 6 months ago. If it has been more recent, they will have to wait.

Most Peruvians Over Age 30 Are Fully Vaccinated

24 OctoberAndina News is reporting that 70% of Peruvians over the age of 30 are now fully vaccinated. This is great news to go along with the expansions of vaccination programs for those 18 and older along with the vaccinations of adolescents which will begin in November. In addition, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported last night that 53% of those age 12 and older across the country are now fully vaccinated.

“When we talk about people over 30 years of age, we refer to all populations that are included within the target audience for vaccination. Those over 30, 40, 50, 50, 60, 70 and 80 years old at the national level,” said Juan Carvajal, a data analyst and former member of OpenCovid-Peru, to Agencia Andina.

“Those over 30 years of age nationwide are approximately 17,600,000 people, of which, as of yesterday, 12,300,000 already had the two doses,” continued Carvajal. “That number is equivalent to 70% of that population over 30 years of age.”

Carvajal indicated that this is very important because the population most affected by the pandemic has been vaccinated and continues to be vaccinated.

“Yesterday we learned that the number of deaths due to covid-19 in Peru reached 200,000” he said. “Ninety-eight percent of all those people who died were over 30 years of age. In other words, the country is protecting a highly vulnerable population.”

Here is how vaccinations have been applied across age groups:

AGE GROUP2 Doses1 Dose0 Doses

Adolescent Vaccinations to Begin in November

18 October – COVID-19 vaccinations for adolescents between 12 and 17 years old will begin in November according Peru’s Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos., adding that the immunization of the youngest children is aimed at making the start of classes in schools a reality.

“Next month [November] we are going to start vaccinating younger people because it has been duly proven that there is no problem with the vaccines, in any of the brands. This has been proven in Europe”, he said on TV Peru.

This age group of a little more than 4.5 million adolescents will receive the Pfizer vaccine as it the only one approved in Peru for its use. To receive the vaccine, they will need to be accompanied by their parents or a guardian. The Ministry of Health has already approved the respective vaccination protocol after discussion with the ethics committee and the expert committee.

Peru Hits Major Milestone in Vaccinations

17 October – Peru has surpasses 14 million people who are fully vaccinated with two doses which represents more than 50% of target population vaccinated against COVID-19.

This figure marks a major milestone since the declaration of the health emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic and represents the progress against a possible third pandemic wave and new variants of the virus.

“The strategy of bringing health actions closer and decentralizing them allowed mass vaccination in a short period of time. And, we passed 31 million doses and exceeded 50% of the target population with two doses against Covid-19. A success of the workers and the people”, highlighted Hernando Cevallos, head of the Ministry of Health (Minsa).

Through the program “Vamos a tu encuentro, ¡Vacunate ya!'”, this administration has focused on a commitment to decentralize health and bring the Minsa closer to the people, starting with the vaccine against COVID-19.

Under this program, thousands of vaccination “brigades” have been deployed throughout the country where they meet people in squares, markets, neighborhoods, workplaces, and the most remote communities — even by going door-to-door. In two and a half months, the number of people fully vaccinated in this target population — people 12 years of age and older — increased from 18% to 50%.

“This is a success of tens of thousands of workers in the health sector, of their dedication and commitment, embodied in long vaccination days, to contribute to the welfare of our people,” said Cevallos.

According to Minsa, another 18 million Peruvians have received their first dose.

Health Emergency Declared for 15 Regions Due to Dengue

11 October – With Supreme Decree Nº029-2021-SA, the Peruvian government has declared a health emergency in 15 regions of Peru due to outbreak and imminent risk of dengue outbreak. The Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, indicated that the administration has arranged immediate measures for the fight against this disease in order to protect the population.

“Dengue is advancing. That is why the central level decided to declare 51 districts of the country in emergency in addition to providing the necessary resources for the regional health directorates and care units to take the appropriate measures to protect the population,” said Cevallos from Piura where he has been developing a work agenda together with local authorities.

The Decree establishes the declaration of emergency in 51 priority districts in the departments of Piura, San Martin, Loreto, Huanuco, Junin, Cajamarca, Cusco, Madre de Dios, Ayacucho, Lima, Amazonas, Ucayali, Pasco, Tumbes and Ica. The measure has a term of 90 days and will allow the implementation of the prevention and control plan for this disease.

“More than 16 million soles have been made available to address the fight against dengue. Let us hope that each of the regional directorates assume with all responsibility the resources that are going to reach them, direct them specifically to fight against dengue in our country. We must not wait for dengue to win the game and spread”, said Cevallos.

He also said that the Ministry of Health (Minsa) has provided technical assistance in the regions of Ica, Junin, Piura, Ayacucho, and this work will be extended to the other departments where a health emergency has been declared.

Cevallos added that “It has been arranged that technical teams will go to the different provinces to help control and supervise the entire fight against dengue; this cannot wait.”

The National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC) of Minsa reported that up to week 30 of 2021, 35 021 cases of dengue were registered, presenting an increase of 42.6% compared to the same period of 2020 with the departments of Piura, Ica, San Martin, Loreto, Huanuco, Junin, Ucayali, Cajamarca, Amazonas and Madre de Dios making up 82.2% of cases nationwide.

In the 51 prioritized districts, 711,920 homes will be treated with larval control and 123,300 houses will be fumigated. In addition, 228 campaigns will be carried out in 31 implementing units. Community surveillance and epidemiological surveillance activities (information analysis) will also be carried out. People will be attended through diagnosis and treatment for dengue and communication strategies for dengue prevention will be applied.

The 51 prioritized districts are: Chulucanas, San Juan de Bigote, Morropón, Tambogrande, Castilla, Piura, Sullana Lobitos, El Alto (Piura); Tarapoto, La Banda de Shicayo, Juanjui, Nueva Cajamarca, Rioja, Bellavista (San Martín); Yurimaguas, Contamana, Barranca (Loreto); Perené, Chanchamayo, Pichanaqui, San Ramón, Satipo, Río Negro, Pangoa (Junín); Callería Yarinacocha, Manantai, Raymondi (Ucayali).

Also included are the districts of Jaén, Pucará, Namballe, San Ignacio (Cajamarca); Bagua Grande, Nieva, Bagua, La Peca (Amazonas); Santa Rosa, LLochegua (Ayacucho); Constitución (Pasco); Nazca, Vista Alegre, Túpac Amaru Inca, Ica (Ica); Tambo Pata (Madre de Dios); San Juan de Lurigancho (Lima); Kimbiri, Santa Ana (Cusco); Tumbes (Tumbes); Rupa Rupa and Castillo Grande (Huánuco).

Administration of Third Vaccine Dose Begins October 15

5 October – The Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos Flores, announced that the application of the third dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 will begin October 15, for personnel on the front line of the fight against the pandemic, people over 65 years of age, and immunosuppressed patients.

The Health Minister said that, just as Minsa health personnel are being required to have two doses of vaccine to work in person, it is also advisable that they be protected with a third dose to reinforce their protection against the virus, starting with the first line of care.

Cevallos Flores shared that it has been for him “a moving experience to see throughout the country, the brigades of doctors and nurses who travel to the most remote places to protect life and health through vaccination.”

Cevallos also acknowledged the effort that doctors have made during the pandemic to care for patients in unfavorable conditions. “We have a forgotten system, fragmented and where human resources are not properly valued. Therefore, we must work on generating a human resources policy,” he said.

The Unvaccinated Account for Almost all COVID Hospitalizations and Deaths in Peru

4 OctoberRPP Noticias reports that, according to Peru’s Ministry of Health (Minsa), more than 90 percent of the patients hospitalized, hospitalized in Intensive Care Units (ICU) or who died from COVID-19, between February and September 2021, were not vaccinated against the disease.

In the last eight months, Minsa reports that 93.57% of the 25,694 hospitalized patients were not vaccinated, 3.71% had received the first dose, and 2.71% were fully vaccinated.

Of the 3,124 people hospitalized in Intensive Care Units (ICU), 90.91% had not received any COVID-19 vaccine, 5.44% were immunized with the first dose, and 3.65% were fully vaccinated.

Regarding the 10,717 Peruvians who died from COVID-19 between February and September 94.05% had not received any vaccine, 5.44% of the had the first dose, and only 1.47% were fully vaccinated.

Of Minsa’s target population are men and women over 12 years of age — 28,024,250 people in Peru — 42% are now fully vaccinated and that number is rising very, very fast.

[Interestingly, there is false information being shared on social media that disputes this, but is based on completely unrelated data.]

Health Minister: Delta Variant is Predominant in Peru

30 September – Yesterday Peru’s Health Minister, Hernando Cevallos, said that most of the country’s COVID-19 cases are now caused by the Delta variant which is much more virulent.

“The number of cases of patients with delta continues to increase, already reaching 61% of the amount of prevalence we have within the cases of COVID-19,” said Cevallos. “This means that we maintain a level of risk, of course, because the delta variant and the delta plus variant are much more contagious, than lambda, gamma, even than the mu variant.”

Referring to deaths in Lima reaching ero the day before, Cevallos added, “”The fact that we have no deaths is great news for our country, because it means several things. Firstly, the fact that we have vaccinated in the last two months is giving results because we not only have 10,400,000 Peruvians correctly vaccinated with the two doses, but also because in the case of people over 50 years of age, we have over 70% of people vaccinated with the two doses.”

“When we talk that we are at 73% of people over 60 years of age with the two doses,” he said, “we are happy because in the international standard we are making progress, but this also means that there is a significant percentage that are still not vaccinated and we have to close that gap. We cannot have people with only one dose.”

No COVID Deaths Lima on Monday

29 SeptemberLima recorded no deaths from COVID-19 on Monday for the first time since March 18, 2020, the day before the first death from the pandemic was reported in the capital, reported the Ministry of Health (Minsa).

“Yesterday, in Metropolitan Lima, for the first time since March 18, 2020, no deaths from COVID-19 were recorded,” the ministry said in a message published Tuesday on Twitter.

The official report, which delivers information 24 hours late, indicated that on Monday 8 people died from COVID-19 nationwide — three in Piura, two in Puno, and one each in Apurímac, Cusco, and San Martín.

The report of the Surveillance System (Noti) and the National System of Deaths (Sinadef) confirmed that no region of the country exceeded 3 COVID deaths on Monday.

Minsa Board Considering Vaccine Booster Shots

28 September – The Ministry of Health (Minsa) will form a board of experts to evaluate the eventual application of a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in our country according to the Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, after he was asked the Medical Association’s request that a booster dose to healthcare personnel not be delayed any longer.”

We, in our country, have to evaluate not only the opportune moment to be able to start this type of applications, but also the type of vaccine we should choose,” he commented. “The Ministry (of Health) has convened a board of experts to make an evaluation of this issue. This is under evaluation, it is not an issue that is ruled out.”

Cevallos pointed out that the priority for the Government is to complete the vaccination of the first two doses in the population.

“We cannot speculate on a third dose,” he said, “and generate expectations in the population when we have not yet completed (the first two doses).”

Health Minister Warns of Third Wave of COVID in 15-20 Days

22 September – Peru’s Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, says that the country could face a third wave of COVID-19 within 15 to 20 days, but he ruled out that the government is considering implementing a new quarantine.

“We estimate the presence of a third wave in the next 15 to 20 day. If we could have more vaccines it would be fantastic,” said Cevallos during a meeting with businessmen in the United States.

The head of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) added that, for this reason, a strategy has been “deployed to bring the Ministry of Health closer to the population with brigades to vaccinate in different parts of the country, with the aim of closing the gap of the most vulnerable people”.

“It is important to encourage investments, but for that we need our people to be properly protected, so that we do not have our economically active population with this enormous risk of being infected again and this would reduce our economic potential,” said Cevallos.

Cevallos said that the Government has ruled out, so far, the possibility of reintroducing a quarantine, since it does not want to affect the recovery of the country’s economy, which was hard hit by the restrictions imposed in 2020.

Cevallos said that in a month and a half Peru has gone from from having “14% of the target population vaccinated, to having more than 33% of citizens vaccinated with the two doses…”It is a very rapid progress and we have to thank the companies that have arrived punctually with the vaccines.”

[Interestingly, these claims of a third wave keep being expressed by government officlals, but the dates are continually pushed farther and farther back. There doesn’t appear any evidence to support this as all the data released by his Ministry indicates continuous and steady improvements. You can read my report from just a few days ago regarding this data here: COVID in Peru After a Year and a Half.]

Minsa Releases Statement on Vaccination Requirements for international Arrivals

20 September – Peru’s Ministry of Health released a “Official Statement” saying that “Presentation of COVID-19 vaccination card is not a mandatory requirement to enter Peru.”

This statement, published at 11:50 pm late last night, contradicts the official Supreme Decree published two days ago that requires arrivals to be fully vaccinated along with a PCR test results within the previous 72 hours before departure. This continues the amazing confusion and apparent inability of the current administration to function.

In response to the consultations made to the Ministry of Health on the application of number 8.7 of Supreme Decree No. 152-2021-PCM, the following is reiterated:

Peruvians, resident foreigners, and non-resident foreigners whose final destination is the national territory, as passengers and regardless of the country of origin, must have a negative molecular test with a result date of no more than 72 hours before boarding at their point of origin and without mandatory presentation of the vaccination card of the country where vaccinated.

– MInistry of Health, 11:50 pm, 19 September, 2021

Other government ministries continue to remain silent this morning on Supreme Decree No. 152-2021-PCM which was published Friday morning.

Over 2.1 million Vaccinated Last Week

The Vice Minister of Public Health, Gustavo Rosell said yesterday that 2’121, 222 people received a vaccine against COVID-19 last week nationwide in the Vacunafests.

“Our goal is 14’000,000 people vaccinated by the end of the month and this is a great advance. We hope that by the beginning of October we will achieve 50% of the target population vaccinated,” said Rosell.

According to the Ministry of Health (Minsa), the doses applied this week represent a weekly record. He also pointed out that Peru already has more than 9’300 000 people fully protected against COVID-19, 33% of the target population.

Gustavo Rosell said that vaccination against COVID-19 will begin in November for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years, but with a prior protocol to ensure the safety of the vaccine and the evaluation of the risk-benefit. (Cusco has already started vaccinated adolescents.)

“According to the national plan in the month of November, as announced, and this also needs the approval of a protocol. It is not a matter of simply lowering the age, but all vaccinations must have the safety of the case where the protocols are always observed by the scientific committees. The Peruvian Society of Pediatrics participates in the scientific committee”, he told RPP Noticias.

Regarding the Tacna region where the vaccine is being given to adolescents between 12 and 17 years old, Gustavo Rosell pointed out that no regional government has the authority to authorize this immunization against COVID-19.

“Being the national authority the Ministry of Health, no regional government has the authority to define the vaccination issue being a public health issue. This has to be clear because there is also a steering law. Those who make decisions for them outside the law will obviously have to be accountable to the corresponding control instances,” said Rosell.

Peru Signs Contracts for 63 Millions COVID Vaccine Doses

17 September – The Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, announced the signing of contracts for the purchase of an additional 8 million Sinopharm vaccines, which would arrive in October; as well as 35 million doses from Pfizer and 20 million from the Moderna laboratory, which are expected to arrive next year.

From the Mayta Capac Zonal Park vaccination center, in San Martin de Porres, where he witnessed the vaccination of pregnant women from 12 weeks of age, the Minister of Health indicated that with the signing of these contracts we would be making very decisive progress in 2022 until we have an adequate amount of vaccines to protect all the Peruvian people.

“But we have to hurry. We have to close gaps in order to face the pandemic and the high probability of a third wave in the country in the best way possible”, emphasized Cevallos Flores, who noted that during the month of September the country will receive a total of 13,003,590 doses of the vaccine against COVID-19.

He also highlighted that the Government has already made available economic resources to ensure the continuity of the vaccination brigades and coordination teams against COVID-19 since international experience would indicate the presence of the third pandemic wave.

“The impact of the third wave will have to do with the number of vaccinated people we have. We are increasing the percentage of vaccination, we are decreasing the estimated number of people who could die. We are in this race and that is why we insist that people over 50 years of age come to be vaccinated with both doses since they are the ones who are more complicated in the intensive care units”, he said.

Regarding Supreme Decree No. 152-2021-PCM, which establishes that nationals and foreigners will need to present a complete vaccination booklet and a negative molecular test within 72 hours to enter the country, the Minister of Health specified that this measure will only be applied to people coming from countries that have 70% of their population vaccinated and will not include minors.

“The idea is to have the molecular test and, as an attitude of induction to vaccination, that people from countries with more than 70% vaccinated population have the two doses. This does not include minors. It is an incorporation that has already been made in the regulation”, he pointed out.

COVID in Peru After a Year and a Half

COVID in Peru After a Year and a Half

Peru Extends State of Emergency Through October 31

17 September – Starting October 1, Peru has extended the state of national emergency through the month of October as published in the Supreme Decree No. 152-2021-PCM published this morning in the official newspaper El Peruano.

Of note is that the decree explicitly states that:

“Peruvians, resident foreigners, and non-resident foreigners whose final destination is the national territory, as passengers and regardless of the country of origin, must have a negative molecular test with a result date of no more than 72 hours before boarding at their point of origin and have completed the respective doses of vaccines according to the requirements of the country where they were vaccinated. Those persons who show symptoms upon entering the national territory are placed in mandatory isolation, according to regulations on the matter.”

8.7 Los peruanos, extranjeros residentes, y extranjeros no residentes cuyo destino final sea el territorio nacional, en calidad de pasajeros e independientemente del país de procedencia, deben contar con una prueba molecular negativa con fecha de resultado no mayor a 72 horas antes de abordar en su punto de origen y haber completado las respectivas dosis de vacunas según las exigencias del país donde se vacunó. Aquellas personas que muestren síntomas al ingresar a territorio nacional ingresan a aislamiento obligatorio, según regulaciones sobre la materia.

– Supreme Decree No. 152-2021-PCM

This is a change from what has been reported that fully vaccinated arrivals were not required to be tested prior to arrive, but the new decree clearly says molecular tests and vaccinations are obligatory.

During the present extension of the state of national emergency, the exercise of constitutional rights relating to personal liberty and security, the inviolability of homes, as well as freedom of assembly and transit in the territory, remains restricted. 

Personnel of the National Police of Peru and Armed Forces will ensure unrestricted compliance with the provisions issued within the framework of the state of emergency, in accordance with current regulations.

The decree also establishes that mandatory social immobility of all people in their homes is provided until October 3, 2021, in accordance with the alert level based on the following detail:

-Moderate alert level: Mondays to Sundays from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.
-High alert level: Mondays to Sundays from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. the next day.
-Very high alert level: Mondays to Sundays from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. the next day.
-Extreme alert level: Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. the next day; and on Sundays from 4:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. the next day.

[NOTE: The decree fails to point out which provinces fall under which risk level designations. As has been the case during the entire duration of this administration there is zero explanation or comment from any of the government’s ministries about this decree. About 7-8 hours after publication, it appears that Peruvian media was caught off guard, too as there is almost no coverage so far.]

Likewise, the regulation indicates that the use of face masks is mandatory to circulate on public roads, as well as the use of double masks (one of which could be made of cloth) to enter establishments with the risk of overcrowding, such as:
shopping centers, galleries, conglomerates, department stores, supply stores for basic products, supermarkets, markets, warehouses and pharmacies. The additional requirement a face shield in these establishments is recommended.

More than 2 Million Vaccine Doses Applied in Peru Last Week

Photo courtesy of Peru’s Ministry of Health

September 16 – Health brigades applied 2,086,093 doses of COVID vaccine between Monday, September 6 and Sunday, September 12, which represents a new record of inoculations carried out in one week since this process began according to Vice Minister of Public Health, Gustavo Rosell.

“This week we want to exceed those 2,000,000 in order to close the gaps and thus achieve our goal of vaccinating the entire population”, said Rosell, in the framework of the strategy “Vamos a tu encuentro ¡Vacunate ya!” implemented by the Ministry of Health (Minsa).

Rosell highlighted the reception that the new Minsa strategy has been having, through which it has reached markets, sports facilities and other spaces, making it possible to gradually close vaccination gaps, especially in vulnerable populations and remote areas. “This initiative is not only being carried out in Lima but nationwide,” he emphasized.

For his part, the executive director of Health Promotion, Alexandro Saco, said that the Ministry of Health is coordinating with the Directorate of Integrated Health Networks (Diris) Lima Sur to also vaccinate in the Industrial Park of Villa El Salvador. “That is what ‘Vamos a tu encuentro ¡Vacunate ya!’ is all about, we are going to the workplace, the neighborhood and all the places where the community is carrying out its activities,” he noted.

Cusco Vaccinates Over 100,000 in 3 days!

Photo Courtesy of Cusco Regional Government

In the Cusco region, more than 100,000 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 in a period of three days, according to the regional government.

Cusco is the first region in the country to promote the vaccination of adolescents and young people from 12 to 19 years of age. This innovative strategy allowed the Regional Government, through the Regional Health Management (GERESA) and the EsSalud Assistance Network, to immunize more than 100,000 Cusco residents against COVID-19 during 3 days of intense work over the past weekend.

This step was taken to consolidate the necessary conditions for the gradual semi-presential restart of the school year, to reactivate the regional economy, and to better face an eventual third wave of the pandemic.

The next objective is to vaccinate 50% of the Cusco population against the coronavirus and to achieve herd immunity in November.

This weekend, thousands of families in the province of Cusco showed their commitment and, at the same time, set an example for Peru, by coming en masse with their children to the 11 fixed points established in the districts of Cusco, Santiago, Wanchaq, San Sebastian and San Jeronimo.

The regional governor Jean Paul Benavente García, highlighted the results of this new campaign that allows raising awareness among the population and meeting the goals set at the regional level.

“We are taking a big step. So tolerance, respect, order and organization so that we can lead the fight against the pandemic,” said Benavente while highlighting the task performed by the protective angels referring to the health brigadistas for whom he asked for respect during the closing of this campaign in the Cajonahuaylla (San Jeronimo) sports complex.

He said that the implementation of the present vaccination strategy constitutes a pilot activity in the country articulated by the Regional Health Management (GERESA) and aligned to the policy of the Ministry of Health (MINSA) with the aim of advancing the inoculation process.

“Cusco is an emblematic region worldwide. We have to give it that place, we have to give it the guarantees to reactivate tourism and only with work we will continue united to demand more vaccines,” he said while welcoming the consequence and interest of the youngest and parents in this vaccination process.

To avoid crowding of people and to optimize the attention, this campaign will be extended from Wednesday, September 15 in five permanent fixed points: Medical College (Haya de la Torre Avenue), Garcilaso Stadium (Huayruropata Avenue), Cajonahuaylla sports complex (San Jeronimo) and the San Sebastian Health Center from 08:00 to 16:00 hours.

Similarly, the immunization process will continue in different provinces of the region, according to the established schedules.

People over 30, 40, 50, 50, 60, 70, 80 and over, who for different reasons did not receive their first or second dose, are eligible to be vaccinated now.

During the first day of this great campaign, 34,504 people were vaccinated and this second day exceeded expectations reaching more than 43,000. On Friday, 24,332 Cusqueños were immunized.

Vaccination for 25 and 26 year-olds begins today

13 September – The vaccination of people aged 25 and 26 will begin today according to the Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, together with the President of the Council of Ministers, Guido Bellido, after closing the week with 1,955,430 doses applied nationwide.

“For us it is a fundamental objective to decentralize vaccination throughout the country. In addition, to reach the most remote populations. Working in the neighborhoods, reaching the factories, going house to house and for that reason we are grateful for the positive attitude of the population. If we do not get vaccinated, COVID-19 will hit us and we cannot allow it”, said Cevallos.

In addition to maintaining the 36-hour campaigns of constant vaccination, Minister Cevallos stressed that the sector has designed a daily work plan in extending the schedules of health facilities and going out to different places.

“From Monday 6 [September] until today, at 90% of the count, we have managed to vaccinate 1 955,430 people in this strategy. In addition, at this weekend’s #VacunaFest we inoculated more than 800 000 doses, far exceeding the goal set,” he noted.

He highlighted the work of the sector and the participation of local governments that allow for a horizontal relationship with leaders and the population. He also remarked that progress with new age groups will allow expanding and accelerating the vaccination process, although emphasis will continue to be placed on closing the gaps since there are still older adults without any doses.

Cevallos Flores clarified that the “Vamos a tu encuentro ¡Vacunate ya!” strategy is not only to vaccinate the greatest number of Peruvians but also to close the gap between the most remote areas of the country and the capital as well as between those who have the second dose pending and those who have already received both inoculations since there is a very high probability of a third wave in the country.

“Although cases are not growing exponentially, there is a slight increase, so in no way should we lower our guard,” he explained.

After two pandemic waves, which have caused nearly 200,000 Peruvian deaths, Minister Cevallos reminded the population that this time they have a very important weapon such as the vaccine and it is necessary to use it, making the act of vaccination a citizen’s responsibility.

For his part, the Chief of Staff gave a well-deserved recognition to the nurses and said that vaccination must continue as it is necessary to reactivate the economy. “This month we are going to reach 50% of protected siblings. An important step, but not enough. Our goal is to go further. All our efforts are oriented to it,” he said.

Nearly 800,000 More Vaccines Arrive

12 September – The Ministry of Health announced that a new shipment of 794,000 vaccine doses arrived Sunday afternoon.

“The aim of Minsa is to have 50% of Peruvians inoculated before a third wave of COVID-19 hits the country, ” according to Minsa via Twitter. “More than 13 million vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm will arrive this month.”

Over 3.3 Million Sinopharm Vaccine Doses Arrive

12 September – Over 3.3 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived Saturday night in Lima.

“This is the largest shipment (of vaccines) that has arrived in the country, because more than 3,300,000 vaccines are being unloaded, and over 700,000 jabs will arrive tomorrow (September 12) to total 4 million between Saturday and Sunday,” said Minister of Health Hernando Cevallos. “This is a very important shipment, which will be immediately distributed to all regions in the country.”

“These (vaccination) teams are increasing greatly in all regions, so as to immunize those who cannot go to a vaccination center because of work or other reasons,” said Cevallos when referring to the new “Vamos a tu encuentro. Vacunate ya” (We will come to you. Get vaccinated now) program initiated by the Ministry of Health.

Cusco Proposes “COVID Passport”

8 September – The Cusco region is considering implementing a COVID-19 passport allowing incentives to individuals who have received two doses of COVID vaccine. according to Cusco Region Governor Jean Paul Benavente.

“The only way to convince the population to go to the vaccination centers is by providing incentives and mechanisms to call on people’s responsibility” said Benavente, “and, therefore, we are proposing a COVID-19 passport, as it is already the case in other parts of the world.”

Benavente explained that COVID-19 passport holders who visit restaurants, shopping centers, etc., may receive incentives for showing proof of both vaccinations.

Benavente said that even though the region has made progress on first dose vaccinations, there is a gap on second dose shots, which needs to be bridged as soon as possible.

“We need to close the gaps, he said. “There are 40, 50, and 60 year olds who still need to get vaccinated. We have moved forward by administering the first dose to over 70% of the population, but the central problem is that people have not returned for their second jab.”

Peru registers 86 cases of “Mu” variant

3 September – The National Institute of Health (INS) of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported that, to date, Peru has registered 86 cases of the variant of interest called ‘Mu’ by the World Health Organization (WHO), whose origin was detected in January this year in Colombia.”

It is a variant that is present in 39 countries and we watch carefully as it has participated in the appearance of the second wave in Colombia. However, in our country it is a variant in which we do not see significant growth. The predominant one at present is Gamma, followed by Lambda and Delta”, pointed out Lely Solari, an infectious disease physician at the INS.

It was on May 12 that the first case was registered in Moquegua. Since then, the INS has reported 2 more cases in May, 12 in June, 37 in July and 34 in August. “So far, there are no studies that determine that the variant is more transmissible or that it generates more severe disease,” he said.

“What we have noticed is that this variant presents immunological escape to the neutralizing antibodies of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that is to say, people who have already been exposed to the virus or even vaccinated, can present the infection, but none reaches severe disease”, remarked the specialist.

Solari indicated that, although one person lost his life in Lima as a result of this variant, it should be noted that the victim had not received any dose of the vaccine, therefore, Minsa calls on the population to continue with the use of double masks, frequent hand washing, social distancing, as well as avoiding crowds and applying the two doses of the vaccine.

“Although we are delaying the appearance of the third wave, the risk does exist, in that sense, we need to achieve the highest percentage of people immunized, thus, although we will not necessarily avoid a new wave, we will make it less lethal”, he emphasized.

It is worth mentioning that the MU variant is present in the Constitutional Province of Callao (7 cases) and 14 regions of the country: Ancash (2), Arequipa (3), Ayacucho (2), Cajamarca (1), Cusco (1), Huancavelica (1), Ica (4), Lima (45), Madre de Dios (10), Moquegua (3), Piura (1), San Martin (1), Tacna (1) and Tumbes (4).

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