People construct burial vaults in the Angela Maria Canalis cemetery as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) overwhelms sanitary…
People build burial vaults in the Angela Maria Canalis cemetery as COVID-19 overwhelms sanitary authorities in Guayaquil, Ecuador, April 8, 2020.

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno is calling for an investigation into the handling of the bodies of coronavirus victims, especially in Guayaquil, the epicenter of the country's outbreak.

Moreno is seeking the probe amid an avalanche of complaints from relatives of victims, who accuse local authorities of mishandling the bodies of their loved ones.

The sight of bodies in the street has fueled the anguish of some residents.  The virus is claiming victims so quickly that the backlog has led to bodies being stored in homes of relatives or in refrigerated shipping containers.

Ecuador has 242 confirmed deaths and just as many more are suspected of dying from the coronavirus.

Moreno said in a tweet that each person deserves a proper burial and that no one will be buried without being identified.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos said he fired one official who asked for money in exchange for handing over the remains of a victim in a Guayaquil public hospital.

So far, there are more than 4,400 cases of the coronavirus in Ecuador, one of the hightest totals in Latin America.

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