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Coronavirus in Peru: What You Need to Know

Commonly asked questions about traveling in Peru during the Coronavirus pandemic
by Gina Cronin

At Peru for Less, the health and safety of our travelers is our top priority. We understand that there is elevated concern surrounding the recent spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), and we are doing all we can to assist our travelers during this time. Cases of coronavirus in Peru have been confirmed, and have been growing over the past months, with number of cases currently being among the top 10 globally. We continue to closely monitor the situation.

We are here for you. If you have any questions whatsoever, we are available to answer those questions and bring peace of mind during this disconcerting time.

*This article was last updated on July 1, 2020. The article was created on March 13, 2020.

Cononavirus FAQs

News Updates:

Timeline:

July 1: State of emergency is now over, and phase 3 of reopening is in effect. As of today, July 1, people may walk around the streets, wearing masks and maintaining distance. The curfew is now from 10pm to 4am Monday-Sunday. Sunday curfew has been lifted, besides the regular daily curfew as is to be observed the whole week. More details about phase 3 of reopening detailed below

June 12: Phase 2 of reopening is in effect. Little by little more parks, restaurants (for takeout) and transport are opening up. Social distanced walks with face mask are permitted. 

May 22: Today President Vizcarra announced that the quarantine has been extended until June 30th, 2020. There have been some modifications. Toque de Queda (Curfew) will now be from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. except in some regions like Iquitos. Virtual Commerce like electronic devices and clothing is open. Medical like dentists, therapy and others are back open.

May 8: President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra, has extended the state of emergency in Peru to Sunday, May 24 in a continued effort to control the spread of COVID-19. 

April 23: President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra, has extended the state of emergency in Peru to Sunday, May 10 in an effort to continue controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

April 8: President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra, extends the state of emergency to April 26 in an effort to continue controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

April 2: President Martin Vizcarra announced an updated social distancing protocol. Women can leave their home to do their essential errands (supermarkets, pharmacies, banks) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Men can leave their home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Sundays, neither men or women are permitted to leave their homes. On Monday-Saturday, curfew is 6pm-5am. State of emergency still expected through April 12, 2020. 

March 26: President Vizcarra, has announced an extension of the state of emergency and quarantine detailed on March 15, to April 12, 2020. 

March 15: President Vizcarra, has declared a state of emergency in Peru from March 15, 2020 through April 1, 2020. This is a precautionary, preventative measure being taken in Peru and many countries across the globe to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please know that we are working around the clock to monitor the situation and assist our travelers. See the FAQs below for more in-depth information about border closures, transport, accommodations, local resources, and more.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of infectious viruses that can cause a range of conditions from the common cold to serious respiratory infections. COVID-19 is a newly discovered coronavirus, or novel coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.  

COVID-19 is an infectious condition that targets the upper respiratory tracts including the nose, throat, lungs, and airways. The coronavirus is currently under investigation and it is important to remember that COVID-19 has high infectivity but low mortality. In fact, around 80 percent of people have mild symptoms and recover from the disease in about two weeks. Read more about the seriousness of coronavirus and how to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19.

Is there coronavirus in Peru?

The first case of COVID-19 in Peru was reported in March 2020. According to the latest reporting, there are 282,365 cases in Peru, as of July 1, 2020. This puts Peru at the #6 position of the most cases worldwide, despite strong measures for social distancing very early on. We continue to closely monitor this situation, and protocols continue to be set and enforced by the government. 

WHO is tracking COVID-19 worldwide. 

Is it still safe to travel to Peru

As a precautionary measure, on the evening of Sunday, March 15, 2020, President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra and the Council of Ministers declared a national state of emergency for a 15-day period due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). He has also announced a total closure of borders as of March 17, 2020, suspending all incoming and outgoing international passenger travel by land, air, sea, and river.

The state of emergency has since been extended to Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Conditions are expected to restore, with continuing limitations, on July 1, 2020, as it is believed that the spread of the virus can be better controlled at that time. It has been announced that domestic flights will resume on July 15. There has been limited information with regard to when international flights will be restored, but they are projected to begin phasing in in August. We will continue to update as these details become available.

This precautionary measure is being taken by many countries across the globe, in an effort to drastically reduce cases and protect the population, especially those with compromised health. 

Are there mandatory quarantines in Peru?

Mandatory quarantines were lifted on July 1, 2020, when Peru’s state of emergency ended. People may go outside and move about, but the practice of social distancing, use of masks, and limiting of group gathering is still mandatory. Children and adolescents under 14 years of age and people in risk groups such as adults over 65 will continue to quarantine until July 31st. Peru is now in phase 3 of reopening, which includes the following allowances and restrictions:
  • Restaurants will be able to start operating at 40 percent capacity and with the necessary health protocols in place.
  • Banks and supermarkets will remain at 50 percent capacity.
  • Seven regions in Peru will still be under Quarantine. These are Arequipa, Ica, Junin, Huanuco, San Martin, Madre de Dios and Ancash.
  • Machu Picchu was set to open July 1st, but this has been postponed by the regional government of Cusco. There is no official date for the reopening of Machu Picchu.

curfew

In addition to the social distancing outlined above, there is still a curfew in place; though more mild than during the state of emergency. All individuals must stay in their homes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., Monday-Sunday.

Peru border closure

The border closure announced on March 15, and put into effect March 17, applies to all international passenger travel, and applies to both Peruvian and non-Peruvian citizens. The transport of cargo and merchandise, however, will continue. Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport is implementing their security protocols and will start flying as soon as the government gives them the green light. It has been announced that the phasing in of domestic flights will begin on July 15 and move on to international flights later in the year. No exact dates have been given by the government at this time, but some projections say August will begin phasing in of international flights. See our article Everything you Need to Know about Lima Airport for more information on security protocols that will be in place.

Is Machu Picchu closed due to Coronavirus?

Currently, yes. It was slated to reopen on July 1st, however that date has been postponed. The government has not announced an official date. When open, the site will permit a reduced total of 75 people per hour, or 675 people per day. This number includes both guides and the general public. Before the pandemic, Machu Picchu operated at 2,500 visits per day, with 5,000 visits per day during high season. The regional authorities of Cusco have established a health protocol, including the aforementioned limited visitation, as well as mandatory social distancing, use of face masks and one-way touring so there is no criss cross of visitors. There will also be a sort of stop-light system so groups don’t mix. All of these measures will be strictly and rigorously enforced by the tour guides.

Travelers currently in Peru

First of all, any travelers traveling with Peru for Less, who are currently in Peru, are advised to call our 24-hour Emergency number to be immediately helped:

Peru for Less 24-hour Emergency lines: 

  • Cusco 24-hour Emergency Line : (51) 984 601 870
  • Other Peru Destination 24-hour Emergency Line: (51) 996 756 079

Tours and transport. Our team is working around the clock to assist all of our travelers. All tours, including those to Machu Picchu, and completely suspended during through June 30, 2020. All international transport is also suspended through June 30.

Accommodations. For our travelers currently in Peru, we are here to ensure that you have comfortable accommodations in our top hotels, or other temporary home rental, like AirBnB for the entirety of the quarantine period, through June 30. Travelers are asked to practice social isolation, but are able to leave their accommodations to go to the supermarket, pharmacy or bank.

Delivery Services. Keep in mind, local food delivery applications like Rappi are not delivering from restaurants at this time, but can deliver from supermarkets and pharmacies. However, slots are limited and there can be a day or 2 delay for completion of orders. It is recommended that those healthy and able to physically visit the supermarket, and reserve those slots for those are sick or whose mobility is limited.

How do you get coronavirus? What’s the risk?

COVID-19 is spread from an infected person to a healthy person. 

The coronavirus enters a person’s body through their eyes, nose, or mouth, and spreads if a healthy person:

  1. Comes in contact with contaminated-COVID droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. 
  2. Comes in close contact with an infected person. Close contact means more than 15 minutes of face to face contact or more than 2 hours in the same room as a confirmed case. 
  3. Or, touches contaminated surfaces.

Washing your hands with plenty of soap and water is a great way to protect yourself. Continue reading how to reduce your risk for coronavirus.

How serious is the coronavirus if you get it?

The vast majority of the population, about 80 percent, have mild cases of COVID-19 and do not require hospitalization – only home isolation. For some, the symptoms are milder than a cold, to the point they wouldn’t have even known they had it had they not gotten tested. For others, it may be more like a strong case of the flu. In a small percentage of the population – mainly elderly, immunosuppressed, and people with underlying health conditions – more serious illness can occur, that would require hospitalization. 

Here are the main symptoms of the coronavirus, according to WHO:

  • Dry cough 
  • Temperature 
  • Fatigue 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Aches and pains
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

How to prep before traveling during this pandemic?

Keep in mind, Peru is in a state of emergency through June 30 2020, and all travel by land, sea, river and sky is suspended. However, in the case of traveling in a pandemic, when travel is restored, these are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Check updates and analysis from reputed institutions including the CDC – Information for Travel, WHO – COVID-19 Updates, and official government pages (Ministry of Health in Peru, US Department of State – Travel, and more.)
  • Pack hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to use on the airplane and throughout your trip.
  • If possible, avoid eating during a short plane ride. The act of eating, especially snacks, often means consuming food you touched or that was exposed to the air.
  • You may also want to talk with your doctor at home about your health concerns and COVID-19 risk.

How to reduce your risk for coronavirus?

Good hygiene and no-touch greetings are among the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19: 

  1. Social distancing. Stay 6 feet away from people in public and try to avoid large group gatherings. 
  2. Constant hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, for at least 20 seconds each time.
  3. Hand sanitizer. If soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer that is 60 percent alcohol or higher. 
  4. Don’t touch your face. Touching your eyes, nose, and mouth increases the risk of catching a contagious disease. 
  5. Clean down surfaces. Clean door handles, workspaces, and your mobile phone multiple times a day with disinfectant wipes. 
  6. Mindful sneezing. If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow or with a tissue. 
  7. Greetings. Handwaving over handshaking is a good no-touch greeting option to prevent the spread of germs. It would be especially wise to not hug or kiss elderly people to minimize any possible exposure.

What to do if you think you might have contracted coronavirus?

Here are the steps if you think you have contracted coronavirus, from CDC: 

  1. Medical appointment. Call your doctor and make an appointment. Be sure to let them know that you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. This allows them to prepare accordingly to minimize exposure. 
  2. Stay home. If COVID-19 is confirmed, you should isolate yourself at home, avoiding public areas and public transport. 
  3. Facemask. If you do need to go for a follow up visit with your doctor, be sure to wear a facemask on the way, and in the office. Learn how to use a mask properly here. 
  4. Outside. If you want to get fresh air, walks alone outside in your neighborhood are okay, although you should wear a facemask. If you live in a dense urban area, it is better to stay inside.
  5. Limit contact. You should keep a safe distance, like a separate room in your house, from those you live with. This includes both humans and pets. While there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in pets, there is too little research to take the chance.
  6. Postpone travel. Travel to Peru is suspended until April 26, 2020. However, when restored, it is still highly advised that individuals with COVID-19 not travel. This helps avoid spread to others and allows the individual to effectively heal. A better idea is to postpone your trip to a later date when you are well.
If you contract coronavirus in Peru, here are steps to follow:
  1. Follow the advice of local authorities.
  2. Call your travel health insurance provider to find a doctor near you.
  3. Make a doctor’s appointment and follow the doctor’s advice.
  4. Call your travel agent to make appropriate arrangements/postponements of your current bookings.
  5. Practice home isolation. Stay indoors, away from other people, and out of public spaces.
  6. Discontinue the upcoming legs of your journey until you are better. Travel in Peru is suspended until April 26, 2020, but even when restored, it is highly advised you continue to rest and plan travel home or subsequent legs of your trip until a doctor confirms that you are well.

Peru’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) lists these local resources:
  • Report suspected cases directly to government authorities with the emergency 113 phone number.
  • If you have symptoms, dial the toll-free number 113, send a WhatsApp message to (+51) 952-842-623, or email infosalud@minsa.gob.pe. Responses may be in Spanish only.

How to insure your trip in case of coronavirus?

We asked three of our senior travel advisors about travel insurance during the COVID-19 outbreak, and this was their advice: 

Travelers should purchase an insurance policy that includes “Cancel For Any Reason” or CFAR. The majority of policies that include the “Cancel For Any Reason” must be purchased within 14 to 21 days of the first payment toward a trip. These policies cost about 40 percent more than typical cancellation policies, and reimburse up to 75 percent of the trip’s cost. 

With our research in recent days, Squaremouth seems to have the most reasonable policies in relation to the coronavirus but would, of course, require “Cancel For Any Reason” policies and would need to be purchased very quickly after making your trip deposit. The company can certainly change this moving forward at any time, so do contact them directly at your earliest availability. Timing is very important with this type of coverage.

Your Peru for Less trip

If you have any questions about a trip booked with Peru for Less, feel free to check-in with your Travel Advisor for specific information regarding your reservations. If you have questions regarding a self-booked flight, please contact your airline directly.

Peru for Less Updated Postponement Policy

We know that right now is an uncertain time for traveling and for planning trips in general. That’s why we have carefully negotiated with our partners and local providers to offer the most flexible postponement terms in the market. Up to 10 days before your trip, you can postpone your trip with us with zero fees. This allows you to plan your dream trip to Peru without worrying about losing out if the unexpected happens. Learn more about our postponement policy here.

Disclaimer

Peru for Less does not specialize in healthcare advice. The answers we’ve compiled for the Coronavirus FAQs are based on guidelines and details from reputed institutes cited throughout this article. Some information may not be up-to-date despite our greatest efforts.