Morgues overflow with bodies in Hong Kong as deadly Covid wave hits

Deja Vu? Hong Kong COVID wave sees workers in hazmat suits dumping corpses in shipping containers as morgues overflow

  • Hong Kong has recorded 4,600 deaths less than three months after new wave 
  • Workers in PPE moved bodies into containers outside Fu Shan Public Mortuary 
  • Funeral industry worker said soaring death toll has seen crunch in coffin supply 

Morgues in Hong Kong are overflowing with bodies after a deadly Covid wave has forced workers in hazmat suits to dump corpses in shipping containers. 

Workers in full PPE gear were seen moving bodies covered in black tarpaulin from a truck into rows of shipping containers outside Fu Shan Public Mortuary on Wednesday.  

Hong Kong has recorded nearly a million infections and more than 4,600 deaths less than three months after the highly transmissible Omicron variant broke through. 

The bulk of the deaths has been from the city’s unvaccinated elderly population.  

A funeral industry representative told local media the soaring death toll had seen a crunch in the city’s coffins supply, with only 300 remaining and expected to be gone by the weekend.

Leader Carrie Lam acknowledged the supply issues during a press conference Wednesday, and said two more shipments of coffins will arrive in Hong Kong from the mainland soon.

The shocking images come just five days after bodies were seen lying abandoned on stretchers next to living patients in a Hong Kong hospital.   

A medic working at the hospital told Hong Kong Free Press the photo was taken inside the Accident & Emergency ward of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong and circulated on Friday.

The photo, reportedly taken in early March, showed six body bags lying on stretchers as bed-bound patients struggled to prop themselves up. 

Workers move a dead body from a truck into a refrigerated container at the Fu Shan Public Mortuary in Hong Kong on March 16

Hong Kong has recorded nearly a million infections and more than 4,600 deaths less than three months after the highly transmissible Omicron variant broke through. Pictured: Hospital workers move dead bodies on to shipping containers 

Leader Carrie Lam acknowledged the supply issues during a press conference Wednesday, and said two more shipments of coffins will arrive in Hong Kong from the mainland soon. Pictured: Workers move corpses into a refrigerated container at the Fu Shan Public Mortuary 

‘I learned from the Food and Health Bureau last night that they are endeavouring to arrange transportation (of coffins) by water,’ she said.

She added that officials have been trying to help families concerned about post-mortem affairs, including how to retrieve bodies already transported to public morgues without a doctor issuing a death certificate.

‘We will try to find a way for the family to take the body back so that they can arrange the funeral soon. The crematoriums… have also been working day and night at full capacity,’ Lam said.

Outside Fu Shan Public Mortuary on Wednesday, workers in full PPE gear moved bodies covered in black tarp from a truck into rows of shipping containers. 

Researchers estimate the infection toll in Hong Kong is significantly higher than official figures, likely already reaching half its 7.4 million population.

Lam has taken hits from all sides on her handling of the crisis, with her administration blamed for the spiralling deaths and unclear messaging about a potential lockdown and mass testing.

Outside Fu Shan Public Mortuary on Wednesday, workers in full PPE gear moved bodies covered in black tarp from a truck into rows of shipping containers

Researchers estimate the infection toll in Hong Kong is significantly higher than official figures, likely already reaching half its 7.4 million population

Lam has taken hits from all sides on her handling of the crisis, with her administration blamed for the spiralling deaths and unclear messaging about a potential lockdown and mass testing

Deaths are shown spiking in mid February and continuing to rise, prompting further lockdowns

Cases appear to have peaked in early March, but deaths remain high across Hong Kong

Chinese social media users have reacted angrily in the past few days, saying the spread of Covid in the mainland is due to Hong Kong’s sluggish epidemic response.

Tens of millions in mainland China were abruptly placed under stay at home orders this week, after the emergence of more than 3,000 daily new cases as Beijing battles to maintain its zero-Covid strategy.

In nearby Shenzhen, all 17.5-million residents were locked down on Monday after an Omicron flare-up in factories and neighbourhoods linked to Hong Kong.

After photos emerged of maskless Hong Kong residents sunning at a beach – which drew vitriol from Shenzhen’s netizens – authorities announced Wednesday that government-managed beaches will be cordoned off starting Thursday.

A shocking photo emerged of bodies stored on the ward of a Hong Kong hospital five days ago, forcing China’s Hospital Authority to apologize 

A person is transferred onto a bus outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong on March 10, 2022, as the government announced the hospital will be used only for Covid-19 patients

Hospital workers dispose medical waste outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong on 10 March 2022

‘As we see a surge of people going to beaches, we have to take appropriate measures in order…to reduce the public’s movements to ensure safety,’ Lam told reporters.

This new measure adds to Hong Kong’s already strict distancing rules, including wearing masks while hiking and a ban on gatherings of more than two.

The embattled chief executive – whose job is up for grabs in a few months – has so far declined to say if she will run for another term.

The selection process was postponed to May because of the wave of Covid cases, and any further postponement would be up to Beijing, Lam said. 

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