Mga Nabubulok na Katawan ng COVID-19 sa Ecuador, Nagkalat na sa kalye dahil hindi na maasikaso ng mga morgue sa dami.

May mga larawang lumabas mula sa Guayaquil, isang port city sa Pacific coast ng Ecuador, na nagpapakita ng walang kasing lala na sitwasyon sa buong mundo mula ng magsimulang nanalanta ang covid-19 pandemic.

Dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng bilang ng mga nasawi sa pandemyang ito, ang mga hospitals at morge ay umaapaw na at hindi na kaya pang e accomodate ang mga [email protected], kaya may makikitang mga inabandonang bangky sa mga kalsada at ang iba ay hinahayaan nalang na maagnas at mabulok sa kanilang mga tahanan, sa parking area at sa mga cargo trailers. Ang amoy raw ng mga labing ito ay para raw “bile in the throat,” at ang mga grupo ng mga ibong buwitre (flocks of vultures) na lumilipad sa siyudad ay tila naghihintay nang tiyansa na makakain ng “human carrion.”

Kahit mga sementeryo ay hindi na rin kaya ang malaking bilang ng mga nasawi dahil sa palalang sitwasyon ng kanilang lugar Kaya naman, ang iba raw sa mga ito’y inililibing na lamang sa mga “unmarked graves in outlying fields.” Ang ibang bangkay naman daw ay ipinupuslit na lamang ng kanilang mga kamag-anak sa mga military checkpoints, bilang mga “sleeping passengers” upang makalabas ang mga ito sa nasabing siyudad.

Ayon pa sa Yahoo News:

Lacking the advanced technology and robust infrastructure of their First World counterparts, hospitals and health centers in Guayaquil have been swamped by climbing infection rates since late March, often leaving ordinary citizens to deal as best they can with dead and dying family members.

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Videos allegedly showing bodies being burned in the streets are now widespread on social media and reproduced by news outlets across Latin America—although the provenance of those public cremation clips remains controversial, and journalists in Guayaquil say they are not what they seem. Fires were lit to draw attention to bodies, not to incinerate them.

There is no doubt that on Monday of this week the Ecuadorian government began issuing makeshift cardboard caskets, because traditional, more durable models have run out. And two new cemeteries with an estimated 10,000 graves are under construction, as experts predict the worst is yet to come, with the death toll likely to peak in late April.

“We are living in hell,” Blanca Moncada, a journalist with El Diario Expreso in Guayaquil, tells The Daily Beast. Moncada describes local medical facilities as resembling “war hospitals.” Such descriptions have been used in almost every hard-hit region, including New York City, but in Guayaquil the situation is still more grotesque.

“There are bodies stacked in freezers, corpses lining the corridors, even piled up outside the hospital,” she says. Reporters covering the crisis in Guayaquil have been particularly hard hit, with at least 14 infections and four deaths, including Moncada’s close friend and mentor at El Diario, who died a few days ago. She says she knows there are many in the city who are much worse off than white-collar workers like herself.

“At least we can lock down and work from home,” she says. “Many in the barrios don’t have that choice. For them it’s either go out to work or starve.”

Guayaquil, which is Ecuador’s largest city, has become the epicenter for COVID-19 in Latin America. As such, it has been described as a kind of bellwether for how the virus might impact other developing countries in the region—a gruesome harbinger of what’s to come when poverty meets pandemic.

As the crisis unfolds, U.S. citizens have been fleeing Guayaquil and surrounding areas, with special charter flights been arranged for them, according to a State Department spokesperson who declined to be named. “Overall, over 3,000 Americans have departed Ecuador since March 19, through 26 flights the Embassy facilitated through commercial airlines and State Department-chartered aircraft.”

Because embassy workers are already in quarantine, “only emergency consular services are available” in Guayaquil at this time, the spokesperson said. If conditions continue to worsen: “The consulate has a strong contingency plan for any necessary emergency evacuation.”

The original contagion is thought to have been brought by travelers returning from Spain and Italy in late winter. The Guayaquil airport is a major travel hub for surrounding districts, and early screening for the virus was marked by “poor epidemiological vigilance,” says Dr. Esteban Ortiz-Prado, an infectious disease expert at the University of the Americas in Quito.

Because passengers were only tested for high temperatures, many asymptomatic carriers slipped through. A lack of self-isolation protocols followed, failures which were in turn compounded by poverty, urban overcrowding, and a high number of senior citizens in vulnerable communities.

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