June 17, 2020 / 11:43 PM / a month ago

Peru overtakes Italy in total cases of coronavirus

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru topped 240,000 total cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, surpassing hard-hit Italy, government data showed, even as the pace of infections has begun to moderate in the South American nation.

Peru moved quickly to lock down its citizens as the pandemic took hold in early March. But cases nonetheless exploded in May, reaching a peak of more than 8,000 per day late in the month. More than 7,000 Peruvians have died from the disease, the government reported.

Peru has the second highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Latin America, behind Brazil, and the seventh highest globally.

The Americas have become the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak, logging nearly 4 million infections and 204,000 deaths. Peru, Chile and Brazil have been particularly hard hit in recent weeks.

Peru’s government has extended a national lockdown through June 30, as infections continue to increase in some regions. The country reported 3,752 new infections on Wednesday, down by more than half since their peak on May 31.

For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.

Reporting by Marco Aquino, additional reporting by Daniela Desantis, writing by Dave Sherwood, editing by Lincoln Feast.

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