MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Families in a poor satellite city of Mexico’s capital with one of the country’s highest tallies of the coronavirus have staged protests to demand news of sick relatives and the return of the bodies of the dead after videos surfaced showing cadavers at a hospital.
One video of the Las Americas general hospital in Ecatepec that was posted to social media showed several bagged bodies on stretchers, some in a small room and others outside lined against a courtyard wall.
“The only thing I demand is that they give me the full body of my son,” Maria Dolores Carrillo told television program Imagen on Friday evening after her son died at the hospital.
Another video from Friday showed upset family members who had apparently forced their way into the hospital. They shouted in a crowded hallway in a confrontation with police, demanding news of their relatives.
Ecatepec, a working class city of more than 1.7 million inhabitants outside Mexico City, has registered 407 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 28 deaths, according to data from Mexico’s health ministry. It is among the Mexican municipalities worst affected by the coronavirus.
State of Mexico authorities said in a statement that the Las Americas hospital, which is run by the state health ministry, would try to hasten the delivery of bodies to families.
“Coordination with funeral homes in the area has been strengthened with the aim to speed up the delivery of bodies and avoid the saturation in the Pathology Area of the Las Americas hospital,” the State of Mexico government said.
Officials also they would work to improve communication with families, but that hospital visits were prohibited to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
Several dozen law enforcement officers were sent to block the hospital entrance on Friday evening and many remained the following day, television images show.
Some family members on Saturday blocked a highway outside the hospital, demanding the release of a relative’s body, television program Milenio reported.
Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon, additional reporting by Abraham Gonzalez; Editing by Alistair Bell