Ecuador’s handling of corpses to be probed

Corpses wrapped in plastic and left on the sidewalk in Ecuador and trucks overloaded, carrying coffins on racks bolted on the side of the trailer.

These just some of the harrowing images serving as a warning of the spread of the coronavirus to the rest of Latin America.

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno called for an investigation on Wednesday (March 8)

into how authorities are handling the bodies of coronavirus victims in Guayaquil - the epicenter of the outbreak there.

But for families of the deceased they say it's too little too late.

One man who lost two loved ones, Wilmer Aguilar, expressed his anger online:


''This bloody government is a plague! They are all a plague. Why don't they show their faces?"

The rapid spread of the virus has collapsed not just Ecuador's health system but overwhelmed funeral homes and cemeteries.

Public hospitals have failed to quickly locate the bodies of their loved ones and in some cases misidentified the remains.

Authorities have said at least 1,600 doctors, nurses and healthcare workers are infected and in quarantine.

The health minister has also sacked an official who requested money in exchange for handing over the remains from a victim in a public hospital.

Cement is being poured and graves built in cemeteries as the death toll rises.

Temporary morgues have been installed outside hospitals and in one video seen by Reuters online a family appeared to dig a grave themselves saying that after calls to local authorities went unheeded, they had no other choice.