|COVID-19 continues to spike, Hong Kong runs out of coffins|
Hong Kong has run out of coffins as the death toll continues to grow. Hong Kong has recorded nearly a million infections and more than 4,600 deaths, most of the victims being the unvaccinated elderly. These figures mostly come from less than three months since the highly contagious variant began to spread. The omicron variant that spreads has made not only the morgue run out of space but also the coffin. There are reportedly only 300 chests left, which number is expected to sell out by the end of the week.
Leader Carrie Lam acknowledged there were supply problems during a press conference on Wednesday (16/3) but confirmed that new shipments from China would arrive. The Evening Standard reports that 150 coffins will arrive from mainland China but it is not known whether this number will be enough. The problems don't just stop there.
Officials in Hong Kong are also grappling with post-mortem issues, such as allowing families to retrieve the bodies of loved ones without a death certificate from a doctor. Given the current rate of transmission of the virus, researchers estimate the number of infections in Hong Kong is significantly higher than the official figure, possibly already at half of its 7.4 million population.
The COVID-19 condition has made Lam the target of criticism. Within Hong Kong itself, there are vague messages about the potential for lockdowns and mass testing, AFP reports. While in China, he was also blamed for not controlling the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong, which resulted in several parts of China being infected. The anger of the Chinese public exploded when they saw people in Hong Kong leisurely on the beach without wearing masks. As a result, it led Hong Kong authorities to immediately close most of the city's beaches.