• Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

Crowds Seen in China Crematoriums During Covid Surge

ByJosh Taylor

Jan 12, 2023

According to The Washington Post, satellite images of a number of Chinese cities show crowding at crematoriums and funeral homes as the Covid outbreak spreads across the country after Beijing lifted severe pandemic restrictions.
An overburdened funeral home in Chengdu, China, ceased offering memorial services, allotting only two minutes for each family to say their final goodbyes before cremation.
A funeral home on Beijing’s outskirts quickly made way for a new parking lot. Scalpers in Shanghai sold places in line at funeral homes to grieving relatives trying to get cremation slots for USD 300 each, according to The Washington Post.
Maxar Technologies’ imagery revealed an increase in activity at funeral homes in six different cities, ranging from Beijing in the north to Nanjing in the east to Chengdu and Kunming in the southwest.
Social media posts also revealed long lines and overworked staff at other facilities.
“I’ve worked here for six years and it’s never been this busy”,said a receptionist at the Jiangnan Funeral Home in Chongqing, southwest China, describing long lines of cars waiting to enter the facility during the days leading up to and following Christmas.
“The freezers were full, and all eight incinerators were running around the clock. “The mobile is still ringing”, she explained.
Because of the high demand, at least four funeral homes contacted by Washington Post have discontinued memorial services and are now only offering cremation and storage, trying to imply that the majority of individuals waiting at these facilities were there process lately deceased relatives.
After more than two years of tight controls on citizens’ personal lives, China recently abandoned its strict ‘Zero Covid’ approach, which had sparked mass unrest.
China’s strict policy protected its people from the kinds of mass deaths seen in Western countries, a point repeatedly emphasised by the Communist Party to demonstrate the supposed superiority of its restrictions.
The Chinese government maintains that fewer than 40 people have died from Covid in China since December 7, when ‘Zero Covid’ restrictions were abruptly lifted, causing infection numbers to skyrocket.
The manner in which Chinese authorities count Covid deaths has been a source of contention since the outbreak began. According to The Washington Post, since December, only people who died of respiratory failure have been included in the official count, regardless of whether they tested positive for the virus.
Chinese health officials have attempted to reassure the public by citing the Omicron variant’s low fatality rate of 0.1%. Since the start of the pandemic, China has officially lost over 5,200 people to Covid. However, international experts estimate that the true death toll is closer to 5,000 people per day, with several models predicting more than 1 million Covid deaths in China by 2023, according to The Washington Post.

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