The rising toll of Covid-19 deaths is overwhelming the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, where desperate relatives of one apparent victim of the pandemic left his coffin in the street for several hours to protest against difficulties in getting him buried.

Neighbour 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 turned up and took the coffin to a cemetery.

Police Colonel Ivan 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 Labour Minister Oscar 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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