Confronting photo highlights country's dire coronavirus plight

Thousands of faces have made for a poignant scene inside a church where a sombre photo captured a country’s vast death toll at the hands of COVID-19.

More than 5000 portraits were displayed inside a cathedral in Lima, Peru, on Sunday (local time) - all of them had died after contracting the deadly disease.

Images taken from inside the building signified what Archbishop Carlos Castillo described as a health system “based on egotism and on business and not on mercy and solidarity with the people”.

The Archbishop of Lima, Carlos Castillo, swings a censer over thousands of portraits of COVID-19 victims. Source: AAP

More than 7000 people have died in Peru from coronavirus. The country has a population of about 32 million people.

The death toll was the second highest for South America behind Brazil.

Hundreds have died without reportedly receiving help from the health system, and many families are now facing financial ruin due to the cost of trying to care for the ill.

The nation as a whole faces a projected economic contraction of 12 per cent this year. Mr Castillo has called for solidarity with the poor.

Portraits lined the pews and columns inside the Lima cathedral on Sunday. Source: AAP

“An even harder moment is coming. It would be terrible if in the times to come we have thousands of these photos — but dead of hunger,” he said.

Church workers spent days filling the pews with images of coronavirus victims, and when the 84 pews were filled, the archbishop ordered thousands of photos more attached to the base of the columns that rise to the arched ceiling.

There were images of doctors, police, firemen and street-sweepers, even an infant. Some hugged their grandchildren. A woman danced with her son.

With Associated Press

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