LIMA, Peru — Thirteen people died in a stampede at a disco in Peru after a police raid to enforce the country’s lockdown during the pandemic, officials said Sunday.

The stampede happened at the Thomas disco in Lima, where about 120 people had gathered for a party on Saturday night, the Interior Ministry said.

People tried to escape through the only door of the second-floor disco, trampling one another and becoming trapped in the confined space, according to authorities.

After the stampede, police had to force open the door.

“I feel sorry for the relatives … but also anger and indignation with the business people who organized the event,” Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra said at a public event in the south of the country. He urged judicial authorities to punish those who had broken the law.

Some 23 people were arrested, and 15 of those tested positive for the new coronavirus and will be quarantined, Claudio Ramírez, a Health Ministry official, told reporters.

The party “was a breeding ground for the transmission of this disease, there was a viral load because it was a closed environment,” Ramírez said.

Franco Asensios, one of those who attended the party, told local radio RPP that the police raid started at 9 p.m. and that authorities told the party-goers to let the women exit first.

“People got excited and started to go down, and then they said that the people in front were suffocating,” said Asensios, who added that a friend who took him to the party had found out about it through social media.

Some people at the scene alleged that police fired shots and tear gas during the raid, but police chief Gen. Orlando Velasco denied it.

Alejandro Ruiz, a watchman on the street where the disco is, told RPP that parties had been held there previously.

“The noise could be heard two blocks away,” said Ruiz. When police cars passed by, people in the disco turned off the lights and lowered the volume of the music, he said.

The building in which the night club is located is dilapidated on the outside and is located in an industrial area in the Los Olivos district of Lima.

Felipe Castillo, mayor of the district, told local television N that the club was in his jurisdiction but that surveillance and supervision in the streets is “precarious” due to the effects of the pandemic, which include a reduction in the collection of taxes.

Night clubs have been prohibited from operating since March because of the pandemic. Peru started lifting quarantine restrictions on June 30 in an effort to get the economy moving again, and the daily reported number of virus infections has doubled to more than 9,000 in recent weeks.

Peru has reported about 27,500 deaths from the new coronavirus.

Pakistan shuts hotels over worker infections

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani authorities have closed about two dozen hotels in a scenic tourist destination in the country’s northwest after dozens of hotel employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to Maqbool Hussain, a district government official, Sunday’s move to place high-risk areas of Shogran, Naran and Kaghan under lockdown was aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

He said as many as 47 hotel employees who tested positive for COVID-19 were quarantined at the hotels where they worked.

The measures came hours after Pakistan reported only four new COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the fewest deaths reported in a day since March. That announcement raised hopes that Pakistan is on the right path to fully containing the new virus despite having a fragile health system.

Pakistan has confirmed more than 275,000 coronavirus infections and nearly 6,300 deaths since reporting its first case in February.

Greece reports 284 new infections

ATHENS, Greece — Greek health authorities announced a daily record 284 new coronavirus cases Sunday. There were also two new deaths.

The total number of confirmed cases is now 8,664, with 242 deaths. The average age of people getting sick from the virus is 39, while the average age of people dying of the disease is 77.

The government, alarmed by the fact that half of all coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the first three weeks of August, has imposed restrictions on social gatherings and the opening hours of restaurants, cafes and bars in 20 localities, including the capital Athens, until the end of the month.

It is also monitoring for violations more closely, and imposing fines. In the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest, a groom was fined 3,000 euros ($3,540) Saturday for having 80 guests at his wedding reception instead of the maximum of 50 allowed at social gatherings. A 52-year-old Bulgarian citizen was fined 5,000 euros ($5,900) for leaving a designated quarantine hotel in the same city, after testing positive for the virus. He was arrested while engaging in contraband trade of toys, police said.

Florida still trending down but crosses 600,000 cases

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida broke the 600,000 mark for confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday but reported one of its lowest daily totals in two months, continuing a downward trend that began five weeks ago.

Florida reported 2,974 new cases on Sunday, only the second time since June 22 that fewer than 3,000 new cases have been tallied in a day. The other time was Monday, when 2,678 cases were reported. Sundays and Mondays often have a low number of reports as not all hospitals report on the weekend.

The daily total peaked July 15 when more than 15,000 cases were reported, but has been declining since.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also been declining. Late Sunday morning, 4,578 patients were being treated for the disease in Florida hospitals compared to Saturday’s 4,773. It is a drop of almost 800 since Thursday. Hospitalizations peaked at above 9,500 on July 23.

Overall, the state has now reported 600,571 confirmed cases.

New infections rise in Italy for seventh straight day

ROME — The day-to-day number of new coronavirus cases in Italy climbed for a seventh straight day, when 1,210 confirmed infections were registered on Sunday, the highest daily increase since May 12.

With airports testing many arriving travelers, two regions with busy airports – Lombardy, which includes Milan, and Lazio which includes Rome — led the day’s new caseload numbers, according to Health Ministry figures.

Lombardy, where some 40% of the nation’s known cases have occurred in the pandemic, registered 239 new infections since Saturday, while Lazio counted 184.

Italy has tallied 259,345 COVID-19 infections, including 35,437 deaths.

Sicilian governor orders migrants arriving by sea quarantined

ROME — Sicily’s governor is ordering all migrants who reach the island by sea be transferred from the Mediterranean island as part of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The ordinance, signed by Gov. Nello Musumeci, went into effect Sunday and stipulates that all centers housing migrants awaiting processing of asylum applications be shut down by the end of Monday.

His order, effective through Sept. 10, also forbids any boat, including charity vessels, to bring migrants to the island.

While in past years the great majority of migrants reaching Italy were rescued at sea by humanitarian groups, cargo ships or military vessels, this year, nearly 80% of arrivals reached Italian shores autonomously, most setting sail from Tunisia instead of Libya, where human traffickers are based.

Many come ashore on tiny Lampedusa island, but its migrant center is dangerously overcrowded. So Italy has taken to quarantining the latest arrivals aboard chartered ferries offshore Sicily. On Saturday, one-third of Sicily’s 48 one-day total of new confirmed coronavirus infections occurred in migrants.

Former Ukranian PM seriously ill with coronavirus

MOSCOW — Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister and a key figure in the 2004 Orange Revolution protests, has contracted COVID-19.

Her spokeswoman Marina Soroka said in a Sunday post on Facebook that Tymoshenko is in serious condition with a fever of 39 C (102 F), but did not specify if she has been hospitalized.

Tymoshenko captured attention worldwide for her speeches to huge crowds of protesters in the 2004 demonstrations that forced the rerun of a disputed presidential election.

After Viktor Yushchenko won the election rerun, Tymoshenko became prime minister, but was dismissed amid quarrels and then returned to the office. Under subsequent President Viktor Yanukovych, she was imprisoned for three years on a conviction of abuse of power.

 

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