At least 13 people have been crushed to death or asphyxiated after trying to get out of a nightclub raided by police due to coronavirus restrictions.
At least six were injured, including three police officers, as around 120 people tried to escape the Thomas Restobar club in the Peruvian capital, Lima, on Saturday night.
Neighbours alerted police about the illegal event at the club in the Los Olivos district of the city. As officers broke up the party on the second floor, crowds rushed to flee the venue.
The large group tried to squeeze through the only entrance and became trapped between the door and a staircase leading to the street, causing several to suffer fatal injuries, said officials.
The National Police’s Orlando Velasco told local radio station RPP: ‘In these circumstances when people begin to fight to get out, it’s tumultuous, everyone goes against each other.’
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At least 23 people were also arrested following the incident, the interior ministry said.
Peru is currently grappling with one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in the world, while it has the second highest infection rate in South America after Brazil.
In March, officials ordered the closure of nightclubs and bars and banned extended family gatherings on Aug 12 in a bid to fight the spread of the virus. A Sunday curfew is also in effect.
As of Saturday, Peru recorded 585,236 cases – double the number reported on July 2. The known death toll has risen to 27,453.
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