Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
Cops are investigating after hospital morgue workers in Ecuador allegedly made the relatives of COVID-19 victims pay in order to find their loved ones’ bodies.
Reports state several families were allegedly charged by morgue workers to find the dead bodies of their loved ones in the city of Guayaquil in the province of Guayas in eastern Ecuador.
According to the local newspaper ‘El Comercio’, a family whose name has not been reported paid between 30 and 100 USD (24 and 81 GBP) to a morgue worker in a hospital when they could not find the dead body of their family member.
The morgue worker reportedly found the corpse a few hours after the payment was made.
The General Attorney Office of Ecuador said on Twitter: “The General Attorney’s Office of Ecuador has launched an investigation due to alleged illegal charges by hospital workers in exchange for giving the bodies of COVID-19 victims. This was after the report from the Local General Office for the Removal of Corpses.”
The Head of the Local General Office for the Removal of Corpses Jorge Wated confirmed they suspect members of morgues at several hospitals and the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS) of having been involved in charging victims’ families for bodies.
Wated told local media: “We suspect a case of negligence from some civil servants or a network of civil servants and hospital workers who are responsible for charging money to family members of the deceased people to deliver the corpses of their loved ones.”
Reports said that the practice could have made the identification of some corpses more difficult.
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said: “We will not allow anybody to be buried without being identified”
The Government of Ecuador declared a state of emergency on the 16th of March sending citizens into lockdown and reducing non-essential economic activity.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Spain has registered 4,965 cases of COVID-19, with 272 deaths and 339 recovered.
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