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  • A corpse remains lying on Pedro Carbo street in downtown Guayaquil, Ecuador, March 31, 2020.

    A corpse remains lying on Pedro Carbo street in downtown Guayaquil, Ecuador, March 31, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @eluniversocom

Published 1 April 2020

The Guayas province had reported "more COVID-19 victims than entire Latin American nations."

The COVID-19 spread in the province of Guayas, Ecuador, has made Guayaquil one of the world's most affected cities by the pandemic so far.

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The presence of corpses inside the houses "is related to the poor capacity of funeral homes to provide their mortuary services in connection with the Guayaquil graveyards," the Joint Task Force (FTC) chief Jorge Wated said.

Existing funeral homes in this city are either overworked or refusing to follow procedures for fear of contagion since the causes of death remain unknown in most cases.

Besides, the population faces difficulties in carrying out the death-related paperwork since the curfew begins from 2.00 hours every day.

The  FTC has promised that it will facilitate these procedures by delivering the documents to the affected families' homes if necessary.​​​​​​​

Between Monday and Tuesday, "we have buried approximately 50 people," Wated told the news agency EFE.

The current problems in burying people have caused many corpses to remain inside homes for several days.

"What is happening in the country's public health system? They do not remove the dead from their homes, they leave them on the sidewalks, they fall in front of hospitals. No one wants to pick them up," Guayaquil Mayor Cynthia Viteri said.​​​​​​​

The "major delay" in the removal of the corpses has made people use social media to beg for help, as EFE explained.

In some cases reported through social media, the corpses have remained uncollected for up to "four or five days," Wated acknowledged and referred to an elderly man who died by "natural ​​​​​​​death", although his corpse was placed on the street.​​​​​​​

"When we immediately went to see the case, the family asked us to give them the death certificate," the Task Force chief said recalling a case in which people burned tires near a coffin placed on the street to demand that authorities take the body to bury it.​​​​​​​

As of Wednesday morning, the Guayas province, which has 3.6 million inhabitants, accumulates 1,937 of the 2,748 COVID-19 cases in Ecuador.

At least 1,116 cases had been registered in Guayaquil, which makes it one of the world's most affected cities, using as a measure the number of cases per one million inhabitants.

As of April 1, the Guayas province "had reported more COVID-19 victims than entire Latin American nations," the BBC commented.

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