Ecuadorian authorities are looking into the “creepy” case of a family that received the remains of a woman misidentified as their relative, Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos said on Saturday.
According to local media, 74-year-old Alba Maruri on Thursday regained consciousness in a public health facility, almost a month after her family cremated what they were told were her remains.
The family had been told that their relative had died in a hospital in Guayaquil, the epicentre of Ecuador’s coronavirus outbreak and the country’s most populous city.
“I have contacted the hospital authorities,” the minister told reporters on Saturday after he was asked about the case.
“I know it is a lady who had a disability. I do not have any other details.
“I prefer to have all the information before giving an opinion,” Zevallos was cited by local media as saying.
“They (at the hospital) are working on the issue,” he added.
El Comercio said that Maruri, who presented symptoms of the disease caused by the coronavirus, had been unconscious for three weeks.
He added that when she regained consciousness she asked for her family to pick her up.
“It’s a miracle”, the woman’s sister told El Comercio, who cited another relative as saying that the family still did not know whose remains they cremated.
According to figures by the Health Ministry, more than 15,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, have been confirmed in Guayaquil’s surrounding province of Guayas.
Ecuador, one of the worst-affected countries in Latin America, has recorded more than 500 coronavirus-related deaths so far, though the real number is thought to be significantly higher, President Lenin Moreno recently admitted. (dpa/NAN)