July 30, 2020 - 10:50 AMT
Guatemala burying dozens of unidentified Covid-19 dead

Guatemalan hospitals say they have had to bury dozens of Covid-19 victims who have never been identified, and one hospital is creating archives in hopes that once the pandemic passes, their relatives will come looking for them, The Associated Press reports.

Workers at one of the country’s largest public hospitals have started photographing patients who arrive alone and too ill to give their personal details. Those who die unidentified are placed in body bags with transparent windows over the faces in case relatives finally arrive.

Protocols that call for rapidly burying the dead during a pandemic only make the situation more difficult, officials say.

The government has reported more than 47,000 confirmed infections and more 1,800 deaths nationwide.

No hospitals appear to be taking advantage of a national identity database that contains the fingerprints of anyone with a national identity card. A registry spokeswoman said a search of the National Register of Persons would only be possible with an order from a judge, prosecutors or forensic medicine officials.

Photo. AP