Supporters of lockdown like to tell a very simplistic story about the pandemic. When countries suffer high Covid death rates, they argue that it’s a result of their failure to lock down – or failure to lock down hard, early or for long enough.
But Peru has exposed just how narrow this view is. Last year, it locked down earlier than almost all other countries – and before any other in Latin America. Its lockdown was one of the most stringent in the world. Strict curfews were enacted and people were only allowed to leave their homes to buy essential goods. The government even used the military to enforce the rules.
Peru’s first lockdown began on 16 March and lasted until June. A second lockdown was imposed in January this year. Now, after a review of the figures, Peru has more than doubled its official Covid death count, taking it to roughly 180,000 deaths. This is the fifth highest death toll on Earth, despite Peru having a population of just 32million. This change to the official statistics also means that Peru now has by far the highest Covid death rate in the world – more than 500 per 100,000 people. Hungary, the next highest, has a death rate of just over 300 per 100,000.