Ecuador could be the worst victim of coronavirus in all of Latin America, with the government officials openly admitting that the actual number of people dying of the disease should be far higher than what they reported.
As of April 28, Ecuador – a country of 17 million people – had reported around 24,000 coronavirus infections and 871 fatalities.
The South American country reported its first case of infection on February 29, 2020, when a woman in her 70s tested positive for the virus. Two months later, the country was described as the emerging epicenter of the pandemic in the region.
Soon, reports emerged, showing people abandoning the corpses of their loved ones on the streets of Guayaquil due to lack of mortuary services.
These days, cardboard coffins are being distributed, with the government building emergency cemeteries to help cope with the situation.
“The number of deaths is totally out of the ordinary,” reported The Guardian, quoting the country’s Interior Minister María Paula Romo as saying.
In Guayas, the province where Guayaquil is located, more than 10,000 people have died since the first week of March this year. The province would usually see about 3,000 deaths in six weeks, the British daily added.
Even the New York Times says the real death toll could be three times larger than the official figure.
With crude oil prices hitting their record lows, the government of President Lenin Moreno is also finding it difficult to inject new cash into the economy as part of stimulating business activity.