The pandemic in China is a full-blown outbreak and the number of infections and deaths has skyrocketed. Although authorities are not reporting the number of pandemic deaths, the demand for cremations and funerals at local funeral homes has spiked. It is reported that, currently in Beijing, morgues have to “put two bodies into one drawer,” and there is a morgue that had to leave 30 bodies on the ground. Some funeral homes bought cold containers, storing 20 to 30 bodies. On the December 17 alone, “more than 2,700 people” died at home from the pandemic in Beijing and now they have to wait more than 10 days to be cremated.
The last time China’s National Health Commission reported a death from the pandemic on December 3, and Beijing’s last report was on November 23. However, according to reports, two senior state media reporters have died after being infected in Beijing. These are the first two deaths known to the outside world after the CCP eased pandemic measures.
Hong Kong’s Ming Bao newspaper reported on December 17 that an employee at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital morgue in Beijing said that the freezers were full, and on the December 16 there was a pile of 30 corpses waiting to be frozen. Morgue staff at Peking University No. 3 Hospital also pointed out that all the hospital’s freezers are full and that currently “even the corpses sent by 120 (emergency center) cannot be received.”
The article also pointed out that most of the staff at 12 government-run funeral homes in Beijing said there was currently a backlog of bodies that had not been cremated and it took a long time to schedule them. Some funeral homes refuse to accept bodies outside the locality. An employee even said that the number of cremated bodies being sent was “too much” and bluntly stated that “the phone never stopped ringing” and “we can’t take new appointments.”
According to some sources in the funeral industry in Beijing, funeral homes are now open 24 hours a day, larger funeral homes such as Babaoshan and Dongjiao in the city may cremate more than 300 people every day but there are still more than 2,000 bodies left, that “can’t be cremated in one week.” Due to the large number of unfrozen bodies the two funeral homes urgently purchased cold containers to store the bodies.
According to data from Beijing’s website, 12 funeral homes have a total of 90 crematoriums. Their performance is the same as that of Babaoshan funeral home, which can cremate more than 4,000 bodies if it operates 24/7.
In addition, it is worth noting that since the pandemic outbreak in China, funeral company costs have skyrocketed, compared with about 10,000 yuan ($1,432) in November, the freezing and cremation service has currently doubled to $2,865 to $4,300.