Hospitals and funeral homes in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, are overwhelmed by the rising number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, said Archbishop Luis Gerardo Cabrera Herrera.
Dramatic photos from the city show the bodies of people who died at home, wrapped in blankets or plastic and left on the street.
One carefully swaddled body was placed on a public bench, a bouquet of flowers on its chest and large umbrella shading it from Guayaquil’s blistering sun. Propped against it was a sign indicating that the family had tried to call the emergency Covid number to no avail.
“The big problem is that we weren’t prepared for this,” Archbishop Cabrera told Catholic News Service. “The number of infections is increasing daily. That makes the situation very difficult to manage.”
Ecuador, a country of about 17 million people, had more than 3,700 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 6th April. More than 2,500 were in Guayaquil, a Pacific coast port city of about 3.5 million. Nationwide, 191 people had died of the virus, according to official figures. Health experts say the figure is probably higher, because people died of the virus without having been diagnosed.
Ten doctors had died of the virus and some 1,600 doctors, nurses, technicians and other health care workers had been diagnosed with Covid-19 or were suspected to have it.
Picture: A health care worker wearing protective gear transports a dead body past a refrigerated container outside of a hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on 3rd April 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. (CNS photo/Vicente Gaibor del Pino, Reuters).