Ecuador’s official coronavirus death toll is 403, but new figures fromGuayas province suggest many thousands have died in the country.
The government said 6,700 people had died in the Guayas province alone in the first two weeks of April, far more than the usual 1,000 deaths there in the same period.
Guayas is home to the nation’s largest city Guayaquil – the worst affected part of the country.
Footage obtained by the BBC earlier this week showed residents of the city forced to store bodies of relatives in their homes for up to five days. They said authorities had been unable to keep up with rate of death, leaving corpses wrapped in sheets in family homes and even on the street.
City authorities last week began distributing thousands of cardboard coffins and set up a dedicated helpline for families that needed a body removed from their home.