May 4, 2020 / 1:46 PM / 2 months ago

Peru's copper-driven economy seen '70% operational' by end-May -minister

LIMA, May 4 (Reuters) - Peru’s economy, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and measures taken to fight it, will be 70% operational by the end of May, as the No. 2 copper producing country looks to restart stalled activity, the economy minister said late on Sunday.

The economy is currently operating at around 44% due to a strict quarantine imposed since March in a bid to halt the spread of the virus in the South American country, which has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in Latin America with 45,928 confirmed infections.

Peru has moved to bolster its economy with one of the strongest economic stimulus packages in the region. Economy Minister María Antonieta Alva told local Panamericana Televisión that she hoped the resumption of activities would begin in the next few days in mining and fishing sectors, before expanding to construction, commerce and other services.

“The idea is that there will be four phases and it is estimated that each phase will take one month,” the minister said. “At the end of the first phase the economy would be 70% operational.”

That would see the country’s economy return to 80% of its normal level a month later at the end of a second stage in June and 95% following the third and fourth stages in July and August, she said.

Peru’s government approved a supreme decree on Sunday authorizing the gradual restart of key activities of the country’s economy. (Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Adam Jourdan)

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