Herses lined the entrance to the crematorium for the dead COVID-19 In the Chinese capital on Saturday (17), as workers at dozens of funeral homes across the city were busier than usual, days after China lifted strict restrictions against the epidemic.
The spread of the Omicron variant has affected services such as restaurants and package delivery in recent days in Beijing. Funeral homes and crematoriums in the city of 22 million have also been struggling to keep up with demand, as more workers and drivers have tested positive for the coronavirus and are missing from medical causes.
China has yet to officially report Covid-19 deaths since December 7, when the country abruptly ended key elements of its Covid-zero policy championed by President Xi Jinping in the wake of an unprecedented public outcry against the protocol.
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On Saturday, a Reuters journalist saw about 30 hearses parked at the entrance to a funeral home in Dongjiao, a crematorium in Beijing dedicated to Covid-19 victims. Three of the many chimneys smoke incessantly.
A few meters from the crematorium in a funeral home, a Reuters journalist saw about 20 yellow bags with bodies lying on the floor. Reuters was initially unable to determine whether the deaths were caused by Covid-19.
A car park security official and a shopkeeper in the funeral home building, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the death toll was above average for the period and a level higher than before the majority was suspended. Pandemic on December 7th.
Sick workers also affected staff working at nearly a dozen funeral homes in Beijing.
China has scrapped its Covid-19 policies zero
The last time the Chinese health authority reported deaths from Covid-19 was on December 3. The last death reported by the Chinese capital was on November 23.
However, respected Chinese outlet Caixin reported on Friday that two veteran journalists from the state-owned press had died after contracting Covid-19 in Beijing, among the first deaths to come to public attention since China scrapped its Covid-19 policies.
But the National Health Commission has published that there has been no change in the official Covid-19 death toll of 5,235 since the outbreak began in Wuhan province in 2019.
Since lifting restrictions earlier this month, China has told its 1.4 billion people to stay home if they develop symptoms, as cities across the country prepare for their first waves of infections.
Chinese epidemiologist Wu Zunyun said on Saturday that had the strict containment policies been lifted earlier, as of January 3 this year, 250,000 people would have died in China.
As of December 5, the proportion of patients with serious or critical condition for Covid-19 had decreased by 0.18% of reported cases, from 3.32% last year and 16.47% in 2020, Wu said.
This shows that the death rate from the disease in China is gradually declining, he said, without elaborating.
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