Update from the US Embassy in Lima
2:30 pm – “We want you to know that we are making progress.
‘Today close to 300 more U.S. citizens departed Peru on two flights from Lima and Cusco. We have now repatriated close to 1,000 U.S. citizens. We know we are not finished and we will continue our efforts until we repatriate all U.S. citizens seeking to return home.”
Possible Announcement on Quarantine Extension Tomorrow
President Vizcarra said this afternoon that the government hopes to make an announcement tomorrow as to whether the current state of emergency will be extended. He didn’t elaborate except to say that the Council of Ministers will look at everything and hope to make a decision rather than wait.
In other words, stayed tuned!
Big Jump in Number of COVID-19 cases
The Health Ministry announced that the number of new cases increased by 64 to bring the total in Peru to 480.
Confirmed cases have been reported in the capital city of Lima (369), followed by the regions of Piura (19), Loreto (18), Lambayeque (12), Junin (11), Arequipa (10), Callao (10), Cusco (10), La Libertad (6), Ancash (5), Tumbes (3), Huanuco (2), Ica (2), Madre de Dios (1), San Martin (1), and Cajamarca (1).
There have been none deaths and 7,560 samples have tested negative for COVID-19. That’s almost 1000 new negative test results.
Latest Update from the US Embassy in Lima
10:30 am – The Embassy posted this update:
Senior U.S. officials maintained constant communication with the Government of Peru throughout March 24 to secure permissions for flights to land on March 25 to repatriate U.S. citizens. At 11:15PM on March 24, the U.S. Embassy received final permission for the landing of a Lima-Miami flight and a Cusco-Lima-Miami. Manifested passengers received instructions via email less than ten minutes after the flights were approved. We continue to engage at the highest level to ensure that repatriation flights continue so that we can get our U.S. citizens home to their families and friends.
We understand the quarantine makes movements to the airport difficult. The U.S. Embassy continues to negotiate those details with the Peruvian government and local authorities so that U.S. Citizens have safe and unhindered passage to the airports.
U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru
Avenida La Encalada cdra. 17 s/n
Surco, Lima 33
State Department – Consular Affairs
+1-888-407-4747 or +1-202-501-4444
Peru Country Information
To receive alerts, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Need help? Email: CASTEP@state.gov.
Health Ministry to Increase Number of More Reliable Tests
Back on March 19, Peruvian President Vizcarra announced that the country was purchasing 1.6 million tests as the amount testing at that time was “not enough.”
That number included 200,000 molecular test kits which are considered more reliable. Today the Health Minister Victor Zamora said that number has been increased to 300,000.
“Rest assured that we will continue to use molecular testing as the first-line method. The others (rapid tests) are part of our arsenal used in an extremely high volatility situation like the one we are experiencing,” Zamora said.
My Wednesday Morning Thoughts from Cusco
Things here have been quite calm throughout the quarantine. People seem to be going about their daily lives as bet they can under the circumstances.
I’ve heard reports about issues with tourists who are not complying with the rules of the quarantine and curfew. There have been some arrests reported which doesn’t surprise me at all.
From my handful of interactions with the police, they seem to be patient with tourists to a point, but when that patient runs out their first responsibility is to their country. Tourists should remember that they are not at home and they are guests of Peru.
The streets are quiet with only a handful of cars and buses running. Almost everyone is wearing face masks when they are outside which are being required to enter many of the markets and supermarkets.
It’s amazing to catch myself walking down the middle of streets that before were major thoroughfares simply because there is no longer any real traffic. I’ve seen people stopping and talking in the middle of these same avenues — from a distance, of course! — as if they’re in the park.
About the only inconvenience for me — and it is a very minor one — is the lack of laundries open. There is one near Mercado San Blas on Lucrepata that is open, though they appear to be hiding from the police. They are charging customers 2-3 times normal prices and just laughed when I mentioned it. I had a problem with this particular place trying to cheat me out of extra money before so I stopped using them. There are honest lavanderias in town and I don’t need to support one who isn’t.
I hope everyone is doing as well as can be expected under these challenging circumstances. Please comment and let me know how you’re doing and how you’re handling the situation. (You can also subscribe to be notified when I make regular updates.)