Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner seeks forgiveness from people as police collect at least 150 bodies from streets and homes in the most populous city Guayaquil.

People look at a body said to be laying for three days oustide a clinic in Guayaquil, Ecuador on April 3, 2020.
People look at a body said to be laying for three days oustide a clinic in Guayaquil, Ecuador on April 3, 2020. (AFP)

Ecuador's Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner has apologised after scores of bodies were left on the streets of Guayaquil as the coronavirus ravages the horror-struck port city.

Residents had published videos on social media showing abandoned bodies in the streets in the Latin American city worst hit by the pandemic.

Authorities collected at least 150 corpses from streets and homes earlier this week but did not confirm how many of the dead were victims of the outbreak.

"We have seen images that should never have happened and as your public servant, I apologise," said Sonnenholzer, who is heading the country's virus response, in a statement broadcast by local media on Saturday.

Ecuador had recorded nearly 3,500 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Sunday, including 172 deaths.

The government has imposed a state of emergency and introduced a nightly curfew in an effort to contain the spread of the disease.

Giant fridges used as morgues

Ecuador's government has begun storing the bodies of victims of the coronavirus in giant refrigerated containers as hundreds of deaths in the city of Guayaquil, the centre of the country's outbreak, have already filled morgues and hospitals.

The government has installed three containers, the largest about 12 metres long, at public hospitals to preserve bodies until graves were prepared, according to Guayaquil's mayor, Cynthia Viteri. 

Ecuador is the Latin American country worst hit by the virus after Brazil.

Guayaquil's surrounding province of Guayas has 70 percent of the country's Covid-19 infections.

Source: AFP