Peru now world’s deadliest Covid-19 hot spot

(Bloomberg) – Peru has set another grim record by reporting the highest number of deaths per capita from the coronavirus.

With 28,277 confirmed deaths from Covid-19, or 86.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, Peru on Thursday (Friday in Malaysia) overtook Belgium as the nation with the most victims, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the IMF and Bloomberg.

It comes a week after the South American nation of 33 million posted the world’s deepest economic contraction in the second quarter following a drastic lockdown.

More than five months after reporting its first case, Peru has one of the world’s worst outbreaks by other measures, too. Over the past seven days, no country has posted more cases. It’s also among nations with most fatalities by population size over the past week.

The outbreak has been so bad that as much as a quarter of Lima’s 12 million population may have already had the virus, according to a government study published last month. Officials warn the country’s real death toll may be close to double the official figure.

Yet there are signs Peru may be past the worst of the pandemic. While the country reported 153 deaths on Thursday, the number of hospitalised patients had fallen 9.2 per cent from a peak reached 10 days earlier.

Despite locking the entire country down early and aggressively, the government has struggled to get control of its outbreak. Cases surged after lock-down measures were eased in July, prompting a ban on social and family gatherings and also delaying plans for reopening the economy.