LIMA (Reuters) -Peru surpassed 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus, health officials said on Tuesday, as concerns about a potential second wave of infections began to grow in the hard-hit Andean nation.
The world’s No. 2 copper producer has recorded 1,000,153 total cases since the outbreak began in March, officials said, and 37,218 deaths, according to a daily briefing on the pandemic.
The daily tally of new cases in Peru has fallen sharply in recent months, from a peak of 10,000 cases per day at the end of August to around 1,000 new infections on Monday.
But many in Peru fear that the country’s ailing healthcare system and over-crowded hospitals would struggle to revive amid another spike in cases. That concern has prompted authorities to implement restrictions around the year-end holidays to ward off a second outbreak.
“Right now we are not experiencing a second wave, but we are taking these measures to be [vigilant],” Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti on Tuesday.
Peru is lagging behind some of its neighbors in efforts to ensure vaccines for its citizens.
The country has signed a preliminary agreement with Pfizer Inc to buy 9.9 million doses of its vaccine, and inked a deal with the Covax Facility, an alliance led by the World Health Organization, to acquire another 13.2 million doses.
But the government of President Francisco Sagasti said last week it did not know when the first doses would be arriving in the Andean nation, nor how many would be included in the first shipment.
Latin American regional neighbors Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico have also each exceeded one million cases of the virus.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Reuters TV; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Richard Chang and Richard Pullin)