Peru passes 100,000 COVID-19 cases, 3,000 dead

Piedrangel funeral home workers, arrive in the El Augustino to remove the body of a resident suspected to have died from the virus, in Lima, Peru, Monday, May 4, 2020. (AP Photo)

has become the second Latin American country after Brazil to reach 100,000 cases, according to health ministry figures out Wednesday.

The number of dead from COVID-19 has also passed 3,000, with only Brazil and Mexico having suffered more.

Both cases and deaths have tripled since April 30.

The dire statistics come even though Peru has been in lockdown for nine weeks, paralyzing the economy.

The vast majority of cases are in Lima and its port Callao, where one third of the country's 32 million people live.

Peru's health system is overwhelmed and teetering on the brink of collapse, with public hospitals facing drastic equipment shortages.

"It's like a horror film," Miguel Armas, a nurse at the Hipolito Unanue hospital in the capital Lima told AFP.

"Inside it seems like a cemetery given all the bodies. Patients are dying in their chairs (or) in their wheelchairs."

Armas and fellow hospital staff protested in the streets on Wednesday demanding better safety equipment.

Peru has 7,500 people receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19, according to the latest figures.

Lima's crematoriums have had to work day and night to deal with the dead, while queues of funeral cars have formed outside some hospitals in the Callao neighborhood.

"My father died alone, there are no doctors inside, (patients) are dying because there are no doctors and no medicine," Gloria Baylon, 37, told AFP outside the Luis Negreiros hospital in Callao.

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