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News > Ecuador

Mistaken ID Case Unveils COVID-19 Crisis Management in Ecuador

  • Gathering of corpses outdoors in Guayaquil, Ecuador, April 13, 2020.

    Gathering of corpses outdoors in Guayaquil, Ecuador, April 13, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @profesorlupa2

Published 30 April 2020

A family received ashes that supposedly belonged to their aunt. A month later, the 74-year-old woman was found alive in a hospital. No one knows who the cremated corpse belongs to.

The teleSUR correspondent in Ecuador Dennise Herrera reported on a strange case showing the multiple difficulties that President Lenin Moreno has in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic amid growing citizen distrust of what his administration does or says.


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“Alba Maruri was admitted to a Guayaquil hospital as a patient with diabetic complications... Doctors told her relatives she had passed away due to COVID-19. A month later, health authorities were forced to find Alba's relatives to let them know she was alive,” as Herrera reported.

When this 74-year-old woman's family knew what was happening, bewilderment and indignation were their inevitable feelings.

"They said, 'Alba Maruri did not die, she is alive'... we were in shock, our skin was crawling... we had someone's ashes at home. How could this be?" her niece recalled. "They said it was a mistake due to the hospital's chaos, given that the city's health system collapsed."

"No one claims the ashes they keep. They cried a relative who did not die. Guayaquil and its pains." The meme reads, "Ecuador: a person who was presumably dead regained consciousness in a Guayaquil hospital. Her family had spent almost a month with the ashes of another body... Her niece Laura Maruri tells the story for @teleSURtv."

“Guayaquil is still the COVID-19 epicenter in Ecuador. Alba's case is just another story of government neglect,” journalist Herrera explained and mentioned that the Maruri family demands her aunt receive proper health care.

“We want our aunt to be calm and to be treated by the doctors. We want them to be careful and to pay attention to her. They've already shown great negligence towards her so the least we expect is that our aunt is sent home in good condition,” Laura Maruri stressed.

From March 20 to April 20, over 4,000 complaints against the Moreno administration have been filled out, according to the Ombudsman's Office.

Despite frequent attempts by the cabinet to explain the figures on COVID-19 cases and deaths, citizens continued to complain about the lack of transparency in the official data.

"Without proper information, how can people be calm? How can health rights be guaranteed? How can be appeased those who have lost loved ones?" Ombudsman Freddy Carrion said.

"Hospitals are running with no budget. There are no tests. Even health professionals have no job stability... These are errors made by a government that does not accept the magnitude of the pandemic," he added.​​​​​​​

As of Thursday morning, Ecuador had officially reported 24,675 COVID-19 cases, 900 deaths as a direct consequence of contagion, and 1,453 "probable deaths" from coronavirus​​​​​​​.

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