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Hundreds of virus-infected bodies recovered from Bolivian streets, homes

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Health workers carry the coffin of a COVID-19 victim from the San Jose nursing home in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on July 20, 2020. – Ten elderly people of the San Jose nursing home died from the new coronavirus and 64 out of 100 tests done last week turned out positive. (Photo by STR / AFP)


Bolivian police said on Tuesday they recovered more than 400 bodies from streets and homes over a five-day period, with 85 percent of the dead believed to have had coronavirus.

A total of 191 bodies were recovered in the Cochabamba metropolitan area alone from July 15-20, with another 141 collected in La Paz, national police director Coronel Ivan Rojas told journalists.

In the country’s biggest city, Santa Cruz, authorities recovered 68 bodies.

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The Santa Cruz metropolitan area is the worst affected by coronavirus in Bolivia and accounts for almost half of the country’s more than 60,000 cases.

Some 85 percent of the bodies were “positive cases for COVID-19 and cases with COVID symptoms, so they will be recorded as suspected cases,” said Rojas.

The rest died of “other causes, meaning death from an illness or a violent cause,” he added.

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According to the national epidemiological office, the western regions of Cochabamba and La Paz are experiencing a “very rapid increase” in coronavirus cases.

Andres Flores, director of the Forensic Investigations Institute, said that between April 1 and July 19 more than 3,000 bodies that were recovered outside of hospital settings had been identified as either confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases.

Bolivia has recorded more than 2,200 confirmed coronavirus deaths among its 11 million population.

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