At least 20 journalists have died from the coronavirus outbreak in Peru, most of them infected while reporting on the pandemic, often with little protection, the country’s journalists’ union reported Tuesday.
Peru is Latin America’s second worst-hit country after Brazil with more than 170,000 cases and 4,600 deaths.
“As of June 1, the number of dead colleagues is 20 in all of the country,” said Zuliana Lainez of the National Association of Journalists.
Many of them contracted the disease while reporting from streets, markets and hospitals on the effects of the virus, without proper protective equipment, Lainez said.
“They have gone to hospitals, which are foci of infection, with homemade masks,” she said.
Seven of the victims were from Loreto, in the Amazon basin, one of Peru’s worst affected areas.
A large proportion of journalists who fell victim to the virus were freelancers, with none of the protections afforded to company employees.
“Journalists dying from COVID-19 confirms the urgency of addressing health protection and job insecurity,” the union said.
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