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In Peru, authorities allowed secret burials of virus victims

Peruvian authorities approved the burials but never told the families, who believed their loved ones were in a local cemetery.
Credit: AP
Michael Urquilla carries scrap metals for recycling to a cargo ship, at the Masusa port in Iquitos, Peru, Friday, March 19, 2021. It's been almost a year that dozens who died of COVID-19 were secretly buried in a field in Iquitos, a city in Loreto state in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Nobody is able to explain why the clandestine burials were held. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

IQUITOS, Peru — Herman Wong and dozens of other people were clandestinely buried almost a year ago in Iquitos, a city in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. 

Local authorities approved the burials but never told the families, who believed their loved ones were in a local cemetery — and only a couple of months later learned the truth. 

It is the first known case in Latin America of authorities concealing the fate of dozens of COVID-19 victims, and nobody is able to explain the motivation behind the clandestine burials. 

Family members told AP journalists that at least 403 people were buried in a field.