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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, but in significantly fewer numbers than other countries across the globe. 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 March 30, 2020. 

News Updates:

Timeline:

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

March 15: President of Peru, Martin 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.

Cononavirus FAQs

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 by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 671 cases in Peru, as of March 30. This number is far lower than coronavirus cases reported from China, Iran, the Republic of Korea, and countries in Europe and North America. 

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.

On Thursday, March 26, the president extended the state of emergency and quarantine through to April 12, 2020. Conditions are expected to restore to normal on April 13, 2020, as it is believed that the spread of the virus can be better controlled at that time. 

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?

Until April 13, throughout Peru, there will be mandatory social isolation to combat the spread of the virus. Mandatory social isolation is in effect for both tourists and residents, whether or not they have the virus. There will be limitations to the freedom of movement, and individuals may only leave their homes to go to the supermarkets, basic goods stores, pharmacies, and banks. Social gatherings and touristic tours of all types have been discontinued for the entirety of this time, and public establishments like restaurants, nightclubs, concert halls, theaters, gyms, pools, parks, fairs, and others, are closed. 

Those individuals who are infected, potentially infected, or who have compromised immune systems, should stay home except to seek medical care. This is the global protocol for those patients whose cases are mild (the vast majority) and therefore do not require hospitalization. Limiting the spread of the virus is critical, and can be controlled by people honoring this mandatory isolation and social distancing. More about home isolation here, from Public Health England. 

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. This allows for all resources, like food, cleaning supplies and medicines, to remain well stocked in stores nationwide. Travelers already in Peru are required to stay in the comfort of their hotel, or other temporary accommodation, like AirBnB, at this time. 

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 April 12, 2020. All international transport is also suspended through April 12.

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 April 12. 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 April 12, 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 12, 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 abroad, 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 12, 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.

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.