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Peru Medical Workers Protest Lack of Protective Gear for Treating COVID-19 Patients

FILE - Images of the 125 doctors who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru are displayed outside Peru's Medical College (CMP) in Lima on Aug. 13, 2020.

Health care workers in Peru protested outside the Ministry of Health and one of largest hospitals in the capital, Lima, Wednesday, demanding better working conditions and pay as infections of the novel coronavirus spread among their colleagues.

The protesters washed disposable masks outside of the National Hospital Edgardo Rebagliati Martins to bring attention to what they complain is a lack of protective supplies.

During Wednesday's street demonstration, anti-riot police attempted to stop protesters from advancing.

Healthcare professionals say they deserve better pay considering the heightened risk they take using inadequate protective gear while attending to patients with the contagious disease.

Minister of Health Pilar Mazzetti on Monday called the street demonstrations regrettable, saying medical workers taking part in the protests neglected their patients.

Dr. Godofredo Talavera, president of the Medical Federation, rejected a claim saying personnel participating in the demonstrations were off duty.

Peru has confirmed more than 610,000 coronavirus cases and more than 28,000 deaths, both tallies among the highest in Latin America.