Major Chinese Cities Fight COVID Surge; Hearses Queue Outside Crematoriums

BEIJING: Streets across major cities in China remained doomed on Sunday as people stayed indoors to protect themselves from the recent surge after a long hiatus. The authorities are yet to officially report COVID deaths since Dec 7th. On December 17, around 2,097 new symptomatic infections of Covid were reported by China. 

China has been battling the first of the predicted waves of COVID -19 in the winter season. Experts predict cases across the country would duplicate significantly if citizens followed typical travel patterns as they return home to attend the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.

Facilities are locking themselves off from the outside world with staff sleeping on-site while struggling to get their hands on drugs. And eldercare facilities have now been left to fend for themselves as society reopens, the manager of one privately run Beijing home said.

Authorities have warned of rapidly growing caseloads, and industry ministry official Zhou Jian said on Wednesday that the country was “making all-out efforts to ramp up the production of key medicines”.

Visits to hospital fever clinics surged in the days following China’s lifting of restrictions last week, though the World Health Organization said the virus was already spreading widely in the country as “the control measures in themselves were not stopping the disease”.

The toll of the abrupt shift away from zero-Covid is still unfolding, with multiple funeral homes in the capital. On Saturday, hearses carrying coffins were seen queued in the designated COVID-19 crematorium’s driveway in Beijing, as workers in the funeral parlors of the city appeared busier than usual.

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