Dead bodies are piling up in China and crematoriums are overwhelmed as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to remain unabated in the country, according to reports. While funeral homes in major cities are running at capacity, making relatives wait for long before they can complete the final rites of the deceased, Bloomber New has reported.
The report specifically cites the case of an elderly Chinese woman's decomposed corpse lying in her Shanghai as the family could not find a hearse to carry her remains away to the funeral home.
"We're lucky it's the cold winter time," a relative told the news agency at Shanghai's Longhua crematorium. The report adds that there were at least as many as 300 other masked mourners at the funeral home, waiting their turn to do the final rites of their loved ones.
According to a public notice, the Longhua crematorium received more than 500 corpses on that day, which is a five-fold increase from normal times. As the staff raced against time, the family members of the deceased got only about 5-10 minutes to complete the ceremonies.
"The whole system is paralyzed right now ... Things here are busier than anyone can handle," an employee said, according to the agency.
Other major Chinese cities are also reeling from the surge of virus infection. There have been accusations that the Chinese government is not releasing the accurate data on the extent of the spread of infections and the number of deaths. Surprisingly, the Xi Jinping administration ha officially announced only about a dozen Covid-related deaths after it abandoned its strict zero-Covid restrictions.
In Shanghai, the situation remains difficult for the families of the deceased. The Bloomberg report says that some families that arrived at the funeral home as early as at 3 in the morning had to wait until noon to get a ticket so that they can stand in a line of around 200 people.
"But there's no guarantee of when it can happen ... We can't give people a date for cremation at this point. You just have to join the queue first," the report quoted an employee as saying.
Health experts said last week that deaths due to Covid-19 in China is only about to peek by the end of January. According to UK-based health data firm Airfinity, at least 9,000 people are dying in China each day, the Guardian reported. The revised estimate is almost double the number of deaths they flagged a few weeks ago.
The firm said that the total number of deaths due to Covid-19 in China since the start of December must have gone beyond 100,000. At least 18.6 million people have caught the virus, even as the strain sweeps across the country, the data firm said, after having analysed raw data from Chinese provinces.
According to the data firm, Covid deaths in China are likely to peak by the end of the third week of January, when about 25,000 people could die each day. China saw a huge surge in infections in November when the government lifted lockdowns, mandatory testing and other measures, as it moved away from a tight zero-Covid policy following rising public resentment and occasional public protest ahead of the Party Congress that anointed Xi Jinping as ruler for a indefinite period.