The COVID-19 death toll in Peru surged on Monday at a rate much faster than expected, following an official government review.
The government nearly tripled its official number of deaths from the day before, which now makes Peru the country with the highest death rate per capita in the world.
Officials say the updated tally has jumped dramatically because, until now, a lack of testing has made it difficult to confirm whether a person has died from the virus.
Peru’s top data official, Marushka Chocobar, announced at a press conference on Monday that over 180,000 people have died from COVID-19, up from just under 70,000 reported deaths the day before.
"With this figure, we can see that according to the application of official criteria and the proposed data series that is being carried out through this working group, we can from now on have a daily figure that reflects the reality closest to what is happening with the pandemic in our country."
Peru had already been among the hardest hit Latin American countries, with its hospitals overcrowded with patients and oxygen low in supply.
Experts had long warned that the true death toll was undercounted in official statistics.
Brazil still has the highest total deaths in Latin America, but based on population and the updated tally, Peru’s per capital death toll more than doubles that of Brazil.