Peru hit 5,000 coronavirus deaths Thursday, according to the country’s health ministry, as hospitals faced a lack of oxygen for seriously ill patients.
Peru has recorded more than 183,000 cases of COVID-19, making it the second hardest-hit country in Latin America after Brazil.
Officials recorded more than 4,200 new cases and 137 deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing Peru’s total number of fatalities to 5,031, the health ministry said.
The country has the third most deaths in Latin America from the pandemic, after Brazil and Mexico.
With more than 9,000 coronavirus patients receiving hospital treatment, Peru’s health system is on the verge of collapse.
ALSO READ: I am not a rapist – Peruzzi cries out
The government declared oxygen a “strategic health resource” on Thursday due to an acute shortage to treat COVID-19 patients.
President Martin Vizcarra said oxygen used for health care “is a priority over its industrial use.”
The coronavirus has killed at least 146 police officers, 61 doctors and paramedics, 20 journalists and eight fire fighters in Peru, according to authorities and unions.
Peru has been under a virus lockdown for 81 days with a nighttime curfew and closed borders.
Some 70 percent of coronavirus cases have been in the capital Lima and the nearby port of Callao, home to a third of the country’s 33 million people.