By Ross Ibbetson for MailOnline, AFP & AP
UNITED Kingdom — Bodies of coronavirus victims have been seen lying in streets of the Ecuadorian capital ahead of what experts say will be Latin America’s peak in the coming days.
Forensics experts were seen attending to the corpse of a 65-year-old man suspected of contracting COVID-19 in Quito on Tuesday. Funeral home workers later arrived to load him into a coffin and drive him away.
Ecuador has more than 31,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 1,569 deaths. The toll across Latin America and the Caribbean passed 15,000 on Wednesday, with more than 280,000 cases reported.
Ecuador is the third worst affected after Brazil with 7,921 fatalities and 114,715 cases, and Mexico which has recorded 2,271 deaths and 26,025 cases.
Experts believe that the pandemic will peak in Latin America in the coming days.
Several countries, including Ecuador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, have extended their lockdown measures in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has asked governments to be ‘cautious’ when they begin to loosen restrictions, warning that virus transmission remains ‘very high’ in Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Mexico.
Brazil was the first country in the region to report a case of the novel coronavirus on February 26.
The patient was a 61-year-old man who had been travelling in Lombardy, one of Italian regions most affected by the pandemic.
The International Monetary Fund said they expect a 5.2 percent GDP contraction across the region due to the coronavirus crisis.
Alejandro Werner, head of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere section, said the region faces the specter of another ‘lost decade’ between 2015-25, comparable to the no-growth era of the 1980s. (ia/MailOnline)