Tegucigalpa (AFP) - Hundreds of people in Honduras blocked a highway on Monday to prevent COVID-19 funerals taking place near their communities.
Some 300 residents from around 20 local communities used boulders, burning tyres and tree branches to block the highway outside the capital Tegucigalpa.
Riot police eventually moved in to clear the protesters and unblock the Tegucigalpa-Olancho highway.
"They came to bury a corpse on Sunday, they came with all the security measures but if the relatives come to buy from a grocery store they will infect us," a local community activist told Channel 3 television.
Deputy Health Minister Roberto Cosenza said such incidents were becoming increasingly common.
In several parts of Honduras, local residents have joined forces "to prevent funeral corteges passing through communities and the relative has to try to find a place to bury the body," Cosenza said.
In some instances, relatives were refusing to accept the corpses of virus victims from morgues, even though they are wrapped in plastic, "and the health service has to go to the cemeteries to bury them."
Cosenza said that "the virus is here to stay" and authorities will have to raise awareness about protection measures to allow burials.
The Central American country has so far registered 1,055 infections with 82 deaths.
Authorities say around 40 percent of tests carried out daily are positive.