In Bolivia desperate family leaves coffin in the street

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APTOPIX Virus Outbreak Bolivia

A coffin wrapped in plastic containing the remains of an unidentified men, who died last week, sits on a wheelbarrow in the middle of a street, placed there by his family to draw attention of the authorities to show that his remains are yet to be collected, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Saturday, July 4, 2020. Funeral services in Cochabamba are overwhelmed and bodies are piling up, waiting for cremation or burial, as new coronavirus cases rapidly multiply in one of the epicenters of the pandemic in Bolivia. (AP Photo/Dico Soliz)

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The rising toll of COVID-19 deaths is overwhelming the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, where desperate relatives of one apparent victim of the new coronavirus left his coffin in the street for several hours on Saturday to protest difficulties in getting him buried.

Neighbor Remberto Arnez said the 62-year-old man had died on Sunday and his body had been in his home ever since, “but that's risky because of the possible contagion."

After a few hours, funeral workers showed up and took the coffin to a cemetery.

Police Col. Iván Rojas told a news conference that the city is collecting “about 17 bodies a day. This is collapsing the police personnel and funeral workers” in the city of some 630,000 people.

“The crematorium oven is small, that that is where the bodies are collecting," said national Labor Minister Óscar Mercado, who told reporters that officials were preparing 250 new burial plots in the city's main cemetery.

The Andean nation has reported 36,818 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,320 deaths.

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