Tags: Coronavirus | Latin America | ecuador | guayaquil | death | pandemic

LA Times: Corpses Left on Virus-Hit Ecuadorian City Streets

Relatives and the staff of Jardines de la Esperanza cemetery wait to bury suspected victims of the new coronavirus
Relatives and the staff of Jardines de la Esperanza cemetery wait to bury suspected victims of the new coronavirus, in coffins which authorities have wrapped with plastic, in Guayaquil, Ecuador on Wednesday. (Andrea Aguilar/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 02 April 2020 04:30 PM

Rotting corpses have reportedly been been overwhelming a port city in Ecuador that has become that nation's epicenter of the coronavirus crisis.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in the past few days alone, several corpses were were wrapped in plastic and left on the streets of Guayaquil — home to 2.8 million people — while others have lain unclaimed in hospitals and clinics overwhelmed by infections. The city morgue is full.

The country has confirmed 2,700 infections and 93 deaths — 60 of them in Guayaquil and its immediate surroundings. But municipal officials there said they have recovered at least 400 bodies in recent days.

"They're leaving them in the villages, they fall in front of hospitals," Mayor Cynthia Viteri, who announced she has tested positive for the virus, said in a Twitter video message to residents last week. "No one wants to recover them."

Lawyer Juan Carlos Freire told the L.A. Times public frustration is growing.

"People are asking that some authority takes charge of the dead, but the lack of response means they are being left in central streets of Guayaquil," he said.

The city itself is pushing back on local reports a new cemetery will be a mass grave, saying all corpses would get a "Christian burial."

Viteri tweeted she would continue to work as long as she could to "protect Guayaquilenos in a moment as difficult as this one."

"I will be where I am and how I am," she wrote. "Don't leave your houses, protect the elderly and the weakest, and take care of each other."

The country's first known coronavirus case — confirmed Feb. 29 — was a 70-year-old woman who had arrived two weeks earlier from Italy and lived outside of Guayaquil, the L.A. Times reported.

She died two weeks later, by which time President Lenin Moreno had placed strict restrictions on international and domestic travel. Ecuador's borders were sealed March 16.

But residents of Guayaquil were slow to take seriously restrictions imposed by the national and local governments, the L.A. Times reported.

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Rotting corpses have reportedly been been overwhelming a port city in Ecuador that has become that nation's epicenter of the coronavirus crisis.
ecuador, guayaquil, death, pandemic
337
2020-30-02
Thursday, 02 April 2020 04:30 PM
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