Hong Kong has continued to see a surge in COVID-19. The death toll from the virus has forced Hong Kong authorities to increase mortuary space. Traditional wooden coffins are running short, and funeral parlors are overwhelmed.

37-year-old funeral director Lok Chung told Reuters, “I have never seen so many bodies piled up together,” adding, “I have never seen family members so upset, so disappointed, so helpless.”

Chung said that a long wait to process death documents also hindered funeral work. He added that the family of a woman who died on March 1 was still waiting for documents to claim her body.

Hong Kong has reported more than 8,000 deaths since the fifth wave of COVID this year.

The scenes of corpses piled next to patients in the emergency room shocked many people as spaces in morgues were full.

There is also a significant challenge when staff is infected at funeral parlors.

Another funeral director, Hades Chan, said, “Nearly a quarter of people aren’t able to work. So some parlours have to pool staff among themselves to keep running.”

Food and hygiene official Irene Young said Young’s department runs six crematoriums around the clock, cremating approximately 300 people every day, twice the usual rate. Meanwhile, the authorities said the public mortuaries had been expanded to accommodate 4,600 bodies, up from the previous 1,350.

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