Coffin shortages in rural China as COVID-19 pandemic rages — and funeral costs soar

A woman walks past a tent at a Covid-19 testing center on January 19, 2023, Hong Kong, China.Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • The BBC has reported that there is a shortage of coffins in rural China due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • There is no official count or estimate of COVID-19 deaths in some rural areas of China.

  • One villager told the BBC that workers in the funeral industry “make a small fortune”.

Coffins are in short supply in rural China and funeral costs are skyrocketing due to the rapid rise in COVID-19-related deaths, BBC News has reported.

A villager in China’s Shanxi province told the BBC that coffins had sold out in some areas, with funeral workers “making a small fortune” during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

China, a country of 1.4 billion people, has reported at least 34,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. Reuters reported last week that the WHO accused China of underestimating the scale of the current data. An insider reported in December, citing Airfinity, a health data company, that more than 5,000 people were likely dying a day from COVID-19 in China.

Data on COVID-19 is difficult to collect in rural areas of the country. The BBC reported that there are currently no official estimates of the number of deaths in rural Chinese villages, as most villagers die at home or in small village clinics.

BBC staff who visited the Chinese province of Shanxi reported that crematoria were busy, funeral homes faced a shortage of coffins and the number of deaths was rising.

“One day someone will die and the next someone else. It has been uninterrupted for the last month,” one villager told the BBC.

One doctor who runs a small clinic in rural China told the BBC he hoped the worst was over and that most of his town’s residents had already caught COVID-19.

“We haven’t had any patients in the last few days,” he said.

However, there is concern that more deaths from COVID-19 will come, the BBC reports. Millions of young people visited their rural towns during the Lunar New Year, potentially bringing COVID-19 back to older, more vulnerable residents.

The BBC interviewed one man, Wang Peiwei, whose sister-in-law died after catching COVID-19.

“She was a wonderful person. We have to organize a big event to send her back, the best we can do,” he said.

Read the original article in Business Insider

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