Total lockdown imposed in central Peru as COVID-19 surges

TEHRAN, Jan. 27 (MNA) – Peru introduced strict new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the wake of the death of a vaccine volunteer who was given a placebo rather than the actual vaccine.

Peru introduced strict new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus on Tuesday night, as researchers said late-stage trials of China’s Sinopharm vaccine would continue after a volunteer who died was found to have been given a placebo rather than the actual vaccine, Aljazeera reported.

President Francisco Sagasti announced a total lockdown of Lima, the capital, and nine other regions following a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, which he said had pushed hospitals close to collapse.

The measures will remain in force until at least February 14.

Cayetano Heredia University, which is involved with the Sinopharm study, said it “unblinded” the volunteer’s participation in the trial on the instructions of the Peruvian health regulator, meaning it had released the details of participants who had received the vaccine or the placebo.

“It is important to stipulate that the death of the participant is not related to the vaccine since she received the placebo, and we will therefore report to the relevant regulatory and ethics bodies and maintain the course of this phase three study,” the university said in a statement.

German Malaga, the chief researcher at the Cayetano Heredia University, told the Reuters news agency by phone that the woman who died had diabetes.

Malaga said the trial investigators had so far issued two doses of either the vaccine or placebo to 12,000 volunteers and were now following their responses.

“It is developing without any setbacks. These things can happen, COVID is a disease that causes deaths,” he said.

“Our message to the volunteers is to take care of themselves because we don’t know if they have the vaccine or the placebo,” he added.

Under the latest government restrictions, which will remain in force at least until the vaccination campaign gets underway, all non-essential shops will be closed. People will also have to work from home, while inter-regional land and air travel will be suspended.


News Code 169131


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