Peru looks to restart economy after months-long lockdown

Slideshow ( 5 images )

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru entered the final stage of its economic reopening on Wednesday after ending a months-long lockdown to try and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The government said in a decree that “phase 3” of economic reactivation, which includes 96% of production activities, will restart all mining activities, industrial sectors and commerce, though they must comply with health protocols for the pandemic.

Restaurants and shops will reopen to cater to a limited capacity of customers. Officials are also weighing health protocols for resuming domestic air and land transport.

“The goal is to revive the economy and create jobs,” said President Martin Vizcarra, speaking at an event to announce the purchase of 400 ventilators from China.

At least 240,000 companies received an economic stimulus from the government to help them reopen, Vizcarra said.

TV channels showed video of hundreds of people at bus stops in Lima on their way to work under new guidelines that limit the timing and frequency of when workers can travel.

Peru lifted its quarantine in 18 of its 25 regions after coronavirus infections began to slow, though its borders remain closed. It was one of the first countries in Latin America to go into lockdown in mid-March.

Peru had 288,477 coronavirus cases and 9,860 people had died as of Wednesday, ranking it the second highest outbreak in Latin America behind Brazil, according to a Reuters tally.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; editing by Cassandra Garrison and Grant McCool