Peru calls up 10,000 army reserves to enforce quarantine

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru’s government has called up around 10,000 army reservists to return to barracks to help patrol the country’s streets and enforce a coronavirus quarantine, due to the high number of people failing to comply, the military said on Wednesday.

The reservists began to enroll again in the morning after a call from President Martín Vizcarra to enforce the order for social distancing and curfews to prevent the virus’ spread.

“They are graduates who served the Army and we hope that some 10,000 will return,” Colonel Martín Tisoc, the army’s human resources head, told the América Televisión channel.

At the Chorillos military headquarters in Lima, hundreds of reservists wearing masks lined up to register their personal data and undergo a medical examination, before beginning a “retraining” period and then going on patrol, the officer said.

Vizcarra, in his daily press conferences has called on the population to stay home, but arrests for breaking the quarantine have risen, especially in the north of the country.

As of Tuesday, police and military have detained some 36,000 people, Vizcarra said.

Peru recently extended the state of national emergency and a nighttime curfew for another two weeks until April 12. Despite the measures, cases of infection have increased and now total 1,065 with 30 deaths from the virus.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Bernadette Baum