A government task force has removed 771 bodies from hospitals and homes in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil after its overburdened health care system left city authorities unable to dispose of the dead.
Guayaquil, the epicentre of Ecuador’s coronavirus outbreak and the country’s most populous city, has been struggling with a rapidly rising death toll.
The situation has forced hospitals to leave bodies in refrigerated containers and some residents to leave dead family members in the street.
The task force has removed 631 bodies from hospitals and 140 bodies from people’s homes and the streets since March 31, its leader Jorge Wated Reshuan said in a report late Sunday.
Wated Reshuan added that hundreds of wooden coffins had been donated for use in the coronavirus crisis.
Local media had reported that in burials organised by the city government in recent weeks caskets made of cardboard were used.
Ecuador is one of the worst-affected countries in Latin America.
The Health Ministry has confirmed 7,466 cases of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus, with 333 of those having died.
The real number is thought to be significantly higher, a fact recently also admitted by President Lenin Moreno.