Coronavirus Ecuador: We packed bodies of my sister and husband in plastic and waited 4 days to be taken away

My sister died first. We took her out of the room because she was swelling and we kept her body outside her house and there she died, in our arms. We took her to the dispensary, but she arrived dead.

Coronavirus Ecuador: We packed bodies of my sister and husband in plastic and waited 4 days to be taken away
My brother-in-law saw how she was and that gave him a heart attack, because he was also like her, delicate.
At the dispensary, we were told that we had to take the bodies away and have them in the house to call 911. So, we brought them in, we put them there in the house and we called and called. But they did not come.
Then we pack them in plastic. We pack them like a doll is packed. Everyone saw us as weirdos, but we were very scared because the environment was getting polluted.
Bertha Salinas tells me her story, by phone, from Guayaquil. We are separated by a mountain range and a quarantine. In a few hours, I will know his face.
Now I only have in front of me the photo of the packed bodies of their relatives. They are on the floor of a house and look like mummies. They remind me of spiders when they wrap their victims in their fine silk.
The city of Guayaquil and the province where it is located, Guayas, are the areas most affected by the covid-19 pandemic in Ecuador.
According to official figures, published while talking to Bertha, Guayas had more than 2,400 infected, of which 1,640 had occurred in the provincial capital.
On April 2, however, President Lenin Moreno called transparent casualties due to the large number of people who have died from the virus but does not appear in the lists because they have not conducted a test.
Bertha is not from Guayaquil, she arrived there with her whole family when she was 14 years old.

Bertha's personal tragedy is not the only one in East Mapsingue.

‘I was born in Santa Elena, in Manglar Alto. My parents came to live in Guayaquil and brought us little ones. We were 10 siblings; I was the second to last.
Of all of them, my sister, the deceased, and I stayed here at Mapasingue; She was 67 years old and played the role of a mom to me. Her name was Inés Salinas.
I am married and have four children. She was five. They both gave us grandchildren. We lived almost opposite and saw each other every day.
Even before quarantine, we were all fine.
When the quarantine started, we already stayed at the house, and since I couldn't see it coming out for a week, I asked my niece, and she said: ‘My mom feels a little sick.’
But then I went to check her and she was fine. She said to me: ‘No ñaña, I was a little bit sick but I am already recovering.’ When suddenly, two days later, she relapsed again and my niece told me ‘Aunt, my mom is sick, she couldn't breathe last night.’
I went to see her at the house and she said ‘ñaña I feel bad, I get very agitatedI can't catch my breath’.
And my brother-in-law became sick too, he also couldn't breathe and he moved his belly very hard.
I told him ‘ñaño, what's wrong with you?’ ’I don't know ñaña, I think I'm going to die too.’

Bertha's family prepares to enter Inés's house and burn objects that were in contact with her dead sister.

Bertha tells me all this from Mapasingue Este, north of Guayaquil, where a photographer is heading to take a photo of him.
In the story, her voice is serene and when she has doubts, someone who is with her serves as a memory aid.
So, I learn that the family contacted number 171, designated by the Ecuadorian government for people with symptoms, but they were recommended to stay home.
Although they sought a private doctor, nobody wanted to see them because the symptoms indicated that it was covid-19.
‘They said that we should wait that it is not only us that have the same problem that it’s the whole Guayaquil’ She said.
And my sister didn't want to go to the hospital because she saw how the hospitals were on the news.
‘I don't want them to take me because they say that they are letting people die there, that if you are put in the hospital, nobody takes care of you and your family will know about you anymore.
Even in those days, a daughter-in-law of mine took her aunt to the hospital and they also put her in and didn't hear from her. About five days later they gave her the news that she was already dead. That is also why the children did not want to leave her in a hospital.
So, we gave him acetaminophen, as they said, and we gave him the sprouts of lemon verbena and sprue of ginger. We also made vapors of eucalyptus.
I told her that if she couldn't breathe, she had to go to the hospital, but she said: ’If I have to die, I will die here at home.’
She and her husband died on Monday, March 30, at about two in the afternoon. She only met him about 14 years old. His name was Philadelphia Ascencio.‘
This is the first time Bertha's voice breaks as if distressed, and equally astonished, the fact that two people who have known each other for so long could die at almost the same time.
In addition to the health crisis, with full hospitals and collapsed intensive care units, Guayaquil faces a crisis in the recovery of the bodies because most funeral companies closed their doors for fear of contagion, without discriminating who had died from the virus and who had died of other causes.
At first, there was talk of digging a mass grave, but the idea did not work out. The national government had to create a task force to retrieve the bodies and committed to individual graves.
The strength of tasks involving the Ministry of Health, the national police, and the armed forces, but even these combined three agencies have struggled to cope with the M eath in a city of more than two and a half million.
The bodies of Inés and Filadelfio remained more than four days at home and the Salinas family, like others in Guayaquil, resorted to social media. It was there that I found a photo of the packed bodies.

Objects that were in contact with the dead are buried in the street.

Objects that were in contact with the dead are buried in the street.
Objects that were in contact with the dead are buried in the street.
‘They just came on Thursday, at about nine o'clock at night. The policemen from the ambulance, from the legal medicine, arrived and took them away.
And still angry, they didn't want anyone to record, no one to go out, (they wanted) everyone to be inside their houses. They only allowed a family member to be there, but from afar.
They told us that the bodies are going to stay there, in that of the police, that if we had no way to bury them, then they will take over. But this way we won't even know where they are going to be buried.
If we wanted a funeral home to take over, we had to raise money. We are people with low economic resources and everything is about 2,000 dollars for each one because you have to pay for the vaults and caskets, which are very expensive.
We do not know what to do, whether to leave them there and not know where my sister is going, or to see if the people of the community can collaborate, but in the community, there are many people who are ill and we are all in this difficult situation in the country.
We don't have a job, we are locked up at home, we eat half a meal because the situation is super difficult here in Ecuador.
Guayaquil is a city of great contrasts, with luxurious houses in the neighboring canton of Samborondón and people who live on less than two dollars on the outskirts of the city and in other neighboring cantons such as Durán.
The virus kills equally, but they all die differently.
When Bertha talks about what it costs ‘a casket, the funeral drawer, her voice twitches.
But then her tone falls into desolation, before the possible scenario of not knowing where to approach in the future to remember his death.
The prospect of asking for help in their own community, as on previous occasions, is complicated because the situation of their neighbors in the Las Cumbres cooperative is not much better.
‘There are still corpses here.
A man who died on Tuesday is still there; Later, another man also died and he was thrown away at his house and they did not come to pick him up either.
We packed Inés and Filadelfio and left them inside their house, but from there we all left. No one stayed.
Families bring out their dead because imagine having them inside, they become contaminated.
And then people have no choice but to take the dead to the streets.
Also, there are quite a few people in the community who are sick.
The government has told us that it is going to give us a $ 60 voucher, but they have not yet given us and we do not know what to do because we are all locked in the house.
Everyone is afraid because people are dying, dying and dying.

Bertha still doesn't know if she'll know where to go to say goodbye to her sister.

coronavirus deaths in south America; Bertha still doesn't know if she'll know where to go to say goodbye to her sister.
she narrates her story of her dead people due to coronavirus in Ecuador
The photographer arrives at the Las Cumbres cooperative, in Mapasingue Este, and sends me the photos.
I see Bertha for the first time. A blue mask covers her entire face, so I can barely say how she really looks. I think the changes in her tone of voice throughout the phone conversation have told me more about her than her image.
The other photographs have young people that I will never know if they are his children or his sister's children.
Together with an adult, perhaps Bertha's husband, they are preparing to burn everything that has come into contact with their dead.
Until now, this burning is the closest thing to a farewell ritual for Inés and Filadelfio.

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