LIMA -- At least 13 people were crushed to death or asphyxiated as playgoers tried to flee a Lima nightclub raided by police because it was open in violation of restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
At least six were injured, including three police officers, as around 120 people tried to escape the Thomas Restobar club on Saturday night as police arrived to break up a party on its second floor, national police and government officials said.
Neighbors had alerted police about the raucous event at the club in the Los Olivos district of the Peruvian capital.
“In these circumstances when people begin to fight to get out, it’s tumultuous, everyone goes against each other,” Orlando Velasco of the National Police told local radio station RPP.
An Interior Ministry statement said the revellers tried to squeeze en masse through the only entrance door and became trapped between the door and a staircase leading to the street.
Police detained at least 23 partygoers, the ministry said.
Peru ordered the closure of nightclubs and bars in March and banned extended family gatherings on Aug. 12 to fight what is Latin America’s second highest COVID-19 infection rate, according to a Reuters tally. A Sunday curfew is also in effect.
Peru had recorded a total of 585,236 coronavirus cases as of Saturday, double the number reported on July 2, while the known death toll has risen to 27,453.