Authorities in Ecuador's coastal city of Guayaquil distributed cardboard boxes to cope with a shortage of coffins and as mortuaries and hospitals are overwhelmed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Footage filmed on Monday shows residents waiting outside the city's cemetery to collect their cardboard coffins and give proper burial to their loved ones. Many complained about the government's response to the crisis, saying that cardboard is unsuitable to store dead bodies.

"They believe they do good donating those things, but they are worthless, they are worthless because they burst open. When our relatives' bodies are kept too much time in there, the cardboard coffin bursts open, they get wet," said a local.

"When a cardboard gets wet what happens? It gets disintegrated, doesn't it? Imagine transporting the corpse and it starts raining," complained another Guayaquil resident.

Nearly 2,000 pressed cardboard caskets were reportedly donated to the city, after more than 150 bodies were left lying in the streets and outside hospitals by residents, in the hope authorities would collect them.

Ecuador is the worst-hit country in Latin America, with 3,747 confirmed cases and 191 deaths as of Monday. President Lenin Moreno said the real death toll could be higher and confirmed authorities were collecting more than 100 bodies a day.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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