Coronavirus overwhelming Ecuador as bodies are left rotting on streets and with morgues bursting with corpses – The Sun
CORONAVIRUS is overwhelming Ecuador as bodies are left to rot in the street while the morgues are totally full with corpses.
Government officials claim 400 bodies have been recovered over the last few days in the port city of Guayaquil.
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The country is facing a crisis as no one knows how many people are infected, with reports of very limited testing for Covid-19.
Ecuador officially has 2,700 cases of coronavirus and 93 deaths – 60 of them in Guayaquil.
It is believed the number is vastly higher as chilling pictures reveal bodies left in the streets, and coffins dumped outside waiting to be collected.
Reportedly other bodies lay unclaimed in hospitals, and clinics have been overwhelmed by the number of infections.
Photos show queues of people, some appearing to be gasping for breath, swamping hospitals in Guayaquil.
Doctors have said up to 1,000 patients are day are arriving at the city’s largest hospital Los Ceibos.
Medics have said while many are false alarms, the sheer numbers are pushing their resources to breaking point.
Ecuador’s national nurses association said up to 370 of their staff have been infected with coronavirus, and five have died.
And amid all of this, city officials have been forced to deny they are planning to dig a mass grave to cope with the dead.
Mayor Cynthia Viteri called on the national government to step up and help collect the piling-up corpses in Guayaquil.
She said: “They’re leaving them in the villages, they fall in front of hospitals.
“No one wants to recover them.”
The mayor herself has tested positive for coronavirus as the killer disease sweeps the globe, nearing one million cases worldwide.
Ecuador has been one of the hardest hit countries in South America.
Troops have been placed on patrol in the streets of Guayaquil to enforce a strict lockdown.
Hundreds of people have also been arrested for breaching the quarantine – which includes a night time curfew between 4pm and 8am.
Pictures show coffins sitting on the floor waiting to be collected from outside of hospitals.
Shops shelves have also been stripped bare amid the pandemic.
Other photos show crowds of the elderly flocking to banks last Friday to withdraw their pensions before the curfew.
The horrific scenes in the Guayaquil come after a city bakery worker was arrested for a sick prank in which he touched his nose before wiping his fingers on fresh dough.
He filmed himself wearing a surgical mask, and could be seen running his hands over buns moving past on a conveyor belt.
Guayaquil resident Hector Galarza speculated many of the dead piling up in the streets are likely to be the city’s poor.
He said the bodies are generating a “panic” as they are ravaged by Covid-19.
Reporters from Reuters news agency saw a man’s body lying on a pavement beneath a blue plastic sheet.
Police said the man collapsed while waiting to enter a store, but his cause of death was not confirmed.
After several hours of laying unclaimed in the street – he was finally removed by the authorities.
Mayor Viteri promised that unclaimed bodies will now be placed in three refrigerated cargo containers.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
City officials are also looking at plans for a new cemetery – but denied rumours it will be a mass grave.
The local government insisted all the dead would receive a “Christian burial”.
And despite being sick with the virus, Mayor Viteri insisted she will continue to work to “protect Guayaquilenos in a moment as difficult as this one”.
She said: “I will be where I am and how I am.
"Don’t leave your houses, protect the elderly and the weakest, and take care of each other.”
Ecuador reported its first known coronavirus case on February 29, a 70-year-old woman who had arrived from Italy – she died two weeks later.
President Lenin Moreno attempted to place restrictions on travel, and the country’s borders were sealed on March 16.
Guayaquil however was reportedly slow to follow the advice, dependent on its bustling open markets and trade.
Two weeks ago, city vehicles were used to block the landing of a KLM flight which had been dispatched by governments in Europe.
It was attempting to fly in and rescue citizens left stranded by travel restrictions.
Eventually, the plane finally landed in Quito, the capital, where 170 foreign citizens boarded for a return flight to Amsterdam.
Last week, Ecuadors health and labor minister Catalina Andramuno resigned just hours after announcing a massive spike in cases.
Health workers had complained they lacked supplies to properly tend to those infected.
Ms Andramuno toured public hospitals to reassure staff just days before she quit.
The government has declared a state of emergency as the country faces a coronavirus crisis.
Almost 50,000 people have been killed by Covid-19 worldwide – with the United States having the highest infection numbers at more than 215,000 and more than 5,000 dead.
It comes as Chinese scientists may have found mutated coronavirus which reportedly infected a patient for 49 days.
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