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The Peruvian finance minister María Antonieta's coronavirus fight makes her a hero

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  1. intuxikated

    Ms. Alva, a Harvard-trained economist who was head of the ministry’s budget office before President Martin Vizcarra appointed her to her current post in October.
    “We aren’t going to skimp on resources needed for the emergency,” Ms. Alva said in a recent interview. “Money can’t be a problem.”

    Olga Yataco, a 44-year-old who lives in an impoverished Lima neighborhood with no running water, is one of her fans. Ms. Yataco received $110 from the government after losing a cleaning job. She also got a box with tuna, lentils and other food.

    Ms. Alva’s stimulus includes more health care spending. The funds have allowed authorities to ramp up testing to about 10,000 people a day, allowing them to better gauge the virus’s spread. With more than 45,000 confirmed cases, Peru is second in Latin America after its much larger neighbor, Brazil. More than 1,200 have died here, the fourth-highest total in Latin America.

    The government is refurbishing apartments built for athletes at last year’s Pan American Games to hold 3,000 beds for coronavirus patients. It is preparing a new Lima hospital exclusively for critical coronavirus patients, although 35 ventilators were found to be unusable because of missing parts.

    “My main fear right now is a situation like Italy where you have to choose who to save,” said Ms. Alva. “My second concern is jobs, that there isn’t a destruction of jobs.”

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