Situation in Numbers
1,017,199 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases (MoH, 31 December 2020)
37,724 COVID-19 deaths (MoH, 31 December 2020)
223 child deaths (MoH, 31 December 2020)
In 2020, Peru had the highest COVID-19 death rate in the region. By 31 December 2020, there were 1,017,199 confirmed cases and 37,724 deaths, including 69,585 and 223 children and adolescents, respectively. With a population of 32 million and less than 1,500 ICU beds nationwide, the health system is struggling to cope with the situation.
In response to the pandemic, on 16 March 2020, the Government of Peru declared a national state of emergency, extended until 2021, closed borders until October 2020, and imposed a mandatory national quarantine that was gradually lifted. These actions have been complemented by various health regulations to ensure continuity of primary care, the “I Learn at Home” remote mass public education strategy, social protection measures and an economic stimulus package. Almost all schools in Peru remained closed throughout the entire 2020 school year, except for approximately 1,000 schools (1.6% of all schools) in October-November for 6 weeks.
The national political crisis in November, including an impeachment and massive protests resulted in three Presidents successions in one week. This contributed to instability during the pandemic and temporarily stopped significant government coordination efforts, including negotiations to secure vaccines.
UNICEF estimated that over 1.2 million new children and adolescents would fall into poverty by the end of 2020, over 500,000 in extreme poverty (UNICEF, October 2020). The ILO reported a 10.5 per cent fall in the average actual income over the last year and forecast 1.5 million jobs lost in 2020. The Central Reserve Bank of Peru calculated a 12.7 per cent GDP contraction. UNICEF also expects setbacks in anemia, stunting, vaccination, academic achievement and school completion in 2021 due to decreased incomes in households with children and adolescents.
This situation has increased the risks faced by the most vulnerable, especially women and girls, families living in poverty or headed by self-employed workers or single parents. Indigenous communities with limited access to health services are also affected, as well as migrants and displaced people in overcrowded living conditions with limited or inexistent local support networks.
UNICEF’s response strategy focused on helping ensure children’s rights are fulfilled. Since the start of the emergency, main results include:
- An estimated 26 million people reached nation-wide through UNICEF-supported Ministry of Education (MoE) campaign “Education does not stop”
- 674,919 children reached through distance-based learning with UNICEF support. 37,774 indigenous and rural students received educational tablets
- Psychosocial support videos for children and families viewed 211,087 times
- 113,730 women and children accessed UNICEF-supported essential health care services
- 38,559 children, adolescents and their families reached with hygiene kits and waste management information
- 34,838 people from indigenous communities in the Amazon reached with messages on COVID-19 prevention in their native tongues
- 1,930 families received information on health, nutrition, COVID-19, child development, and activities promoting play and care through the Afinidata virtual platform
- At least 400 migrant families with children or pregnant women (1,569 people) received monthly cash transfers
- 18,941,059 impressions and 444,860 engagements per post on social media related to COVID-19 prevention and attention
- Over 10,000 units of refrigeration equipment purchased by the Government of Peru, facilitated by UNICEF Supply Division in Copenhagen