The measures are to remain in force until February 14 as the country turns to vaccines to emerge from the health crisis.
Peru introduced tough new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus on Tuesday evening, as researchers said late-stage trials of China’s Sinopharm vaccine would continue after a deceased volunteer was given a placebo rather than the vaccine for him. -even.
President Francisco Sagasti has announced a total lockdown of Lima, the capital, and nine other regions following a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, which he said has pushed hospitals to the brink of collapse .
The measures will remain in effect until at least February 14.
Peru reported 4,444 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its total to 1,107,239. The government plans to launch a mass vaccination campaign next month and hopes the vaccines will help it find a way out of a crisis which killed 40,107 people.
Cayetano Heredia University, which is involved in the Sinopharm study, said it had “unblocked” the participation of the volunteer in the trial on the instructions of the Peruvian health regulator, meaning it had released the details. participants who had received the vaccine or the placebo.
“It is important to state that the participant’s death is not related to the vaccine since she received the placebo, and therefore we will notify the relevant regulatory and ethics bodies and continue this phase study. three, ”the university said. in a report.
The German Malaga, chief researcher at Cayetano Heredia University, told Reuters news agency by phone that the woman who died was diabetic.
Malaga said investigators in the trial had so far delivered two doses of the vaccine or placebo to 12,000 volunteers and were now tracking their responses.
“It is developing without any setbacks. These things can happen, COVID is a disease that causes death, ”he said.
“Our message to volunteers is to take care of themselves because we don’t know if they have the vaccine or the placebo,” he added.
Growing health crisis
Under the latest government restrictions, which will remain in effect at least until the start of the vaccination campaign, all non-essential stores will be closed. People will also have to work from home, while interregional land and air travel will be suspended.
The ban on flights from Europe has also been extended to include flights from Brazil in a bid to tackle new, more contagious strains of the virus.
Sagasti said the first million doses of 38 million doses for Sinopharm’s vaccine candidate would arrive “within the next few days” ready for the February inoculation campaign.
Peru has also reached an agreement to purchase 14 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, while its regulators are also assessing emergency use requests from Russia’s Gamaleya institute and Pfizer.
The country temporarily suspended testing of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine last month following a “serious adverse event” suffered by a study volunteer.
In the most recent case, the university said the volunteer had received “all the care necessary to treat this disease and its complications” and that she “had been fighting for her life” for more than a week.
“It is a painful loss for which we offer our condolences to his family,” the statement added.