Up to two million people could be killed by coronavirus in China next year. China’s crematoriums are overwhelmed with bodies as Covid-19 rips through the country following it abandoning its zero-Covid policy – but authorities still insist only seven people have died since lockdowns ended.
The Chinese government has reported only seven Covid-19 deaths since restrictions were loosened dramatically on December 7, bringing the country’s total toll to 5,241.
But much of the Chinese population are said to not believe these figures, with one funeral shop worker telling journalists crematoriums are simply overwhelmed by bodies: ‘They work day and night, but they can’t burn them all.’
On Tuesday, a Chinese health official said that China only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its official COVID-19 death toll.
Experts have forecast between a million and 2 million deaths in China next year, and the World Health Organization warned that Beijing’s way of counting would ‘underestimate the true death toll.’
Up to 250million people caught Covid in the first 20 days of December in China, officials estimate as the country’s pandemic chaos continues to unfold.
Sun Yang, a deputy director at the CCDC, revealed the latest figures at a health briefing on Wednesday.
They include 37million people who were infected on Tuesday alone, which accounted for around 2.6 per cent of the country’s population.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention believes 18 per cent of the population have been infected, after Beijing U-turned on its controversial zero Covid policy last month.