This year of constant and tenacious struggle by Peruvians against the novel coronavirus brought with it a series of political and social events that marked 2020 and the first months of 2021. Below is a review of the main events in Peru during the last 365 days hit by the worldwide pandemic. On March 15, 2020, the Executive Power decreed a state of national emergency for 15 days, which implied mandatory social isolation (quarantine), social immobility (curfew), and the closure of Peruvian borders. Only essential services for the population were allowed to operate. The state of national emergency remains in force, but already supported by health protocols and differentiated protection measures, in accordance with each alert level. Curfew in the country and some restrictions are in force to avoid crowds and further contagion. The country entered an unprecedented situation to combat an unknown virus during the first months of 2020, after having confirmed on March 6 the detection of the first coronavirus case in Peru. A national citizen had been infected on a trip to Spain, France, and the Czech Republic. Three days before the national emergency was decreed, classes at schools, institutes, and universities were initially suspended until March 30. However, the measure is still in force and meant the launching of the Aprendo en Casa (I Learn at Home) platform to continue with school teaching virtually. The first fatality from coronavirus in Peru occurred on March 19. A 78-year-old male person passed away. Immediately, the numbers of infections and deceased people started to rise. A first wave came to an end and a second began that is currently being faced with joint efforts by citizens, doctors, nurses, as well as police and military members. Bonuses, food, and reactivation The Executive Power ordered the payment of government grants in favor of low-income families to face the quarantine during 2020 and so far in 2021, as well as of the personnel of the Social Health Insurance System (EsSalud), National Police, Armed Forces, and National Penitentiary Institute. Also, it decreed the distribution of food baskets among the poorest areas and the disbursement of resources to support businesses through the Reactiva Peru Program. In May, the progressive economic reactivation process began (planned in four phases) and actions were carried out to support the return of Peruvians stranded abroad, who had been affected by the closure of borders. The same was also in force for foreigners stranded in Peru, who were willing to return to their places of origin. Elections and political crisis On July 8, 2020 —when the country entered its fourth month of national emergency due to the pandemic— General Elections were called for April 11, 2021, by then-President Martin Vizcarra. In the electoral race, there are currently 18 presidential candidates, who had to make adjustments to their campaigns in compliance with the protocols and sanitary measures. Politically speaking, the most relevant events were the approval of the impeachment and removal from office of Martin Vizcarra by Congress on November 9, 2020, followed by the short-term regime of Manuel Merino, who took office for merely 6 days, due to the outbreak of protests that ended with the deaths of young citizens Inti Sotelo and Bryan Pintado. Amid turmoil, on November 17, Congressman Francisco Sagasti was sworn in as President of the Republic and pledged to lead the Transition and Emergency Government, which is currently in office. One of the priorities of President Sagasti’s administration has been to specify the acquisition of vaccines against COVID-19. Thus, on January 6, 2021, the Head of State announced the purchase of a total of 38 million vaccines from the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm. On February 7, a month later, the first batch of 300,000 vaccines from the aforementioned Chinese laboratory arrived in the country, which led to the beginning of the first phase of a vaccination process in the country. Subsequently, an important batch of vaccines from Pfizer laboratories was added. (END) FHG/VVS/CVC/MVB


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