World News

Peru to restart international flights to some regional countries as it eases coronavirus restrictions

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru will restart international flights to some regional countries, the government said on Wednesday, as it aims to lift coronavirus restrictions and reopen its economy.

Flights to 11 destinations in Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Panama will resume on Oct. 5, President Martin Vizcarra said, adding that health protocols including coronavirus tests for passengers arriving to Peru will be mandatory.

Air traffic in Peru has been grounded since mid-March after the government announced the first positive coronavirus case. The South American country was hit particularly hard by the pandemic, though infections and deaths have slowed in recent weeks. Peru, a nation of 32.6 million people, has 811,700 coronavirus cases currently, the second highest rate in Latin America, and 32,400 deaths.

“The virus is still in our environment,” Vizcarra said.

Peru began its “phase 4” of reopening recently, which marked an increase in economic activities, including higher capacity in restaurants and shops. Bars, clubs and casinos remain closed.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Sandra Maler