Peru to further open economy in October as coronavirus cases drop

FILE PHOTO: Peru's President Martin Vizcarra addresses the nation, as he announces he was dissolving Congress, at the government palace in Lima, Peru September 30, 2019. Peruvian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru will push forward with a gradual reopening of its economy in October, allowing international flights to countries in the region and more people into its restaurants and stores, the government said on Friday, provided coronavirus cases continue to fall.

President Martin Vizcarra said restaurants will soon operate at as much as 50% of their capacity, while shopping center capacity will rise to 60%. Bars, discos and cinemas will remain closed, Vizcarra said.

Vizcarra said international flights would resume on October 5. “We will begin flights with neighboring countries in the region” he said, adding there would later be a gradual expansion to other destinations.

Coronavirus infections have slowed in Peru in recent weeks. The country has reported 788,930 cases through Sept. 24, the second most infections in Latin America after Brazil and No. 6 in the world, according to a Reuters count.

Vizcarra said the weekly death toll from the COVID-19 has also plummeted.

“This allows us to see a light at the end of the tunnel,” the president said.

Reporting by Marco Aquino, writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Aurora Ellis