Funeral houses all over Beijing, China’s worst-hit covid city, scrambled on Saturday to keep up with all of the calls for funerals and cremation services and workers at the funeral houses called in sick.
There were many hearses bearing dead bodies lined up along the driveway to a covid-19 crematorium in Beijing, and the funeral homes were busier than usual after China loosened its zero-covid policy restriction.
Since China has loosened the covid restriction, they have not released any official reports on covid deaths. The country abruptly ended its zero-corruption policy following mass protests across the country.
A US-based research facility said that in 2024, China may see an explosion of cases and that over a million could die of COVID. This sharp increase in COVID cases would test the authority’s efforts to move China away from endless testing, lockdowns, travel restrictions, and to reopen the country to the rest of the world.
Reuters journalists, on Saturday, saw about 30 stationary hearses waiting along a driveway leading to the Dongjiao funeral house, a crematorium specifically for COVID patients.
Parked among them were ambulances and a wagon with corpses wrapped in sheets in an open truck. This was later picked up by a worker and moved to a preparatory room. The chimneys in these funeral homes billowed smoke continuously.
In a funeral parlor close to the crematorium, the Reuters journalist saw about 20 body bags with corpses on the floor. Reuters couldn’t tell whether these deaths were COVID-related.
“We have fewer cars and workers now,” a staffer at Miyun Funeral Home told Reuters by phone, also speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that there was a mounting backlog of demand for cremation services. “We have many workers who have tested positive.”
It is not immediately clear whether the increase in cremations is due to the rise in COVID numbers.
At the Huairou Funeral home, a body was stored for three days before it was send for cremation.
China last presented a report of COVID deaths on the 3rd of December. Beijing last reported a death on the 23rd of November.
When China lifted restrictions at the beginning of this month, they told their population of 1.4 billion to work from home if they noticed mild symptoms.
As of December 5, the proportion of seriously or critically ill COVID patients had dropped to 0.18 percent of reported cases. This compares to 3.32% last year and 16.47 percent in 2020. This shows China’s fatality rate from the disease is gradually falling, he said, without elaborating.
Official statistics cannot be trusted because China has stopped publishing the number of asymptomatic cases. The lack of PCR testing among people with no symptoms is the reason for this.
People have questioned the lack of reports on social media. One Chinese person on social media wrote “Why can’t these statistics be found? What’s going on? Did they not count them or are they just not announcing them?”
Shanghai. When local people were asked about the situation they said that they knew colleagues, family members and friends who were infected with COVID. One staffer said, “Everyone is too afraid.”