Peru registered a record 11,260 confirmed coronavirus cases in one day; it's the highest level since the pandemic broke out in March last year while facing a second wave that has overwhelmed the health system.
The 11,260 infections reported last Wednesday by the Ministry of Health in the previous 24 hours exceed the 10,143 reported last August 16, which was the highest figure since the beginning of the pandemic.
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The average of the last seven days reached 8,130 cases per day, a lower figure than that reported in the worst week of the health crisis, when the average marked 8,340 cases per day in the third week of August 2020.
Deaths in 24 hours since Tuesday night totaled 182, putting the daily average for the week at 162 deaths, down from 193 in the first week of March, the ministry said, as reported by AFP.
The alarming increase coincided with the release of an official report stating that the coronavirus's Brazilian variant is responsible for 40% of the cases registered in recent months in Lima.
"A study has identified through a sampling throughout Lima that the main causative variant of COVID-19, about 40%, is the Brazilian variant," said the Minister of Health, Oscar Ugarte, at a press conference.
The South American country reached one million cases on December 22 and, at the current rate, it is expected to exceed 1.5 million this week.
The second wave, which broke out in January after Christmas and New Year, has hospitals on the verge of collapse and no free beds in Intensive Care Units (ICU).
Meanwhile, the vaccination process against COVID-19 is progressing slowly since it began on February 9 due to the lack of doses, whose acquisition is being negotiated by the federal government.
According to health authorities, only 219,000 people received both doses of the vaccine, who hope to immunize 24.5 million Peruvians during 2021, out of a population of some 32 million.
For the time being, the vaccination campaign is limited to front-line health personnel, military, police, and civilians over 80 years of age.
The government announced a national lockdown during Holy Week to prevent the spread of the virus so that businesses will be closed and air and land transportation will be suspended.
The increase of cases has again caused long lines to buy medical oxygen cylinders, as happened at the pandemic's worst moment in 2020.