Mourners in China burn dead loved ones as hearses stacked with Covid victims

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    Mourners in China are being forced to burn their dead loved ones as "hearses stacked with dead" Covid victims queue for incinerators.

    An official from one major crematorium in the Chinese city of Chengdu says that despite burning more than 1,000 corpses a day and banning funeral ceremonies, there was a long wait.

    Another crematorium has seen a rise in funeral numbers from around 40 to 200 a day, according to its staff, while a third was fully booked.

    READ MORE: China could claim parts of the moon as its own territory in new 'space race'

    The news comes as estimates suggest there could be 1.7 million deaths in China by April, as coronavirus sweeps across the nation.

    Airfinity, a British-based health data firm, suggested last week that 9,000 people a day were dying from the disease in China, with peaks still to come later this month and in March.

    Figures leaked from Beijing’s public health authorities show in the first 20 days of last month alone 250million people caught the disease.

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    Queues of hearses, morgues packed with body bags, warehouses filled with coffins have been caught on camera — along with footage of hospitals struggling to cope as mainly elderly people are crammed into corridors and even treated in car parks.

    More than eight in 10 residents in Chengdu’s province of Sichuan have been infected, admit local public health officials.

    Staff at one hospital have complained they had never been so busy and had run out of Covid medicines, and were seen facing long queues of largely elderly patients.

    While most of those arriving at the hospitals by ambulance were given oxygen to assist breathing.

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