Bodies left in streets as coronavirus leaves health services at breaking point

A man looks at a body laying in the street. Photo: Getty Images.

Bodies of coronavirus victims are being left out on the streets of Ecuador's largest city of Guayaquil or kept in family homes as health services struggle to keep up with the pandemic.

People have complained they have no way to dispose of their relatives' bodies due to strict quarantine measures.

Some have taken to social media asking for help and even posting videos of dead relatives, the Daily Star reported.

Desperate families have even put the bodies of their loved one in the street so that they'll be collected by authorities but the process can take up to three days.

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Officially, around 120 deaths have been reported but President Lenin Moreno says the numbers are “short” as authorities have been unable to keep up with the virus’ spread.

A unit comprising of soldiers and police are in charge of burying the dead and they are collecting up to 150 bodies a day.

Hospitals have no beds left available for sick patients, while morgues, cemeteries and funeral homes are also nearing capacity. Residents were reportedly leaving dead bodies in the streets due to a lack of alternative solution.

But the bodies not being collected quickly enough and locals fear they could risk spreading the virus further.

Others have complained of the smell.

A body said to be laying for three days outside a closed clinic in Guayaqui. Photo: Getty Images.

Northern Guayaquil resident Rosa Romero, said her husband, Bolivar Reyes, 43, died after suffering symptoms consistent with coronavirus but he was never tested.

His body was not collected for over a day because crews tasked with removing bodies were unable to keep up, she said.

Because of the number of people dying through coronavirus and the figure expected to keep climbing the government is now in the process of building a “special camp” in Guayaquil.

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As of Friday, Ecuador's National Service of Risk and Emergency Management Department reported 3,368 Covid-19 cases nationwide, and 145 fatalities.

But some citizens were concerned that confirmed positive cases of infection were higher than what was being reported by the Ecuadorian Government. Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno said the total number of deaths in Guayaquil’s surrounding province of Guayas, home to 3.8 million Ecuadoreans, was expected to reach between 2,500 and 3,500.

Several containers had arrived in the city that would be turned into temporary morgues to accommodate the influx of bodies.

A private van carrying a casket. Photo: Getty Images.

Authorities said the plan was to create space for dignified burials.

“We’re building a special camp for the fallen,” he said.

More than one million cases of coronavirus have now been confirmed across 181 countries and more than 58,000 people have died.