Estimates show Wuhan death toll is much larger than official figures released by Chinese authorities
Locals in first epicenter believe 42,000 people may have died in the coronavirus outbreak there, instead of the 3,200 claimed by authorities
Locals in Wuhan claim 500 urns have been handed out to grieving families every day from seven separate funeral homes all serving the city and the 84
Other estimates say crematoriums in the city have handled a staggering figure of 46,800 cremations in the wake of the pandemic
Official figure released by authorities in China say Coronavirus has infected about 81,500 people and killed 3,300, with 3,128 of the deaths in occurring Wuhan
A scene in post-lockdown Wuhan as commuters cram onto bus soon after travel restrictions are lifted in the city
At the peak off the Covid-19 pandemic in China, passengers wearing masks and covered with plastic bags walk outside the Shanghai railway station, two months ago
The homes – in Hankou, Wuchang and Hanyang – have told grieving families that they will receive the ashes before April 5, the date of Qing Ming festival where people tend the graves of their ancestors.
This means that 42,000 urns could be distributed in that 12-day period.
Earlier reports stated that the Hankou premises received two shipments of 5,000 urns in just two days, according to local media.
It comes as the province relaxed its two-month lockdown of 50 the million residents.
These photos from Wuhan, China, show how with mild COVID-19 cases were taken to large facilities and not permitted to see their families, to maintain distancing in the fight against the virus. “Infected people must be isolated. That should happen everywhere,” says George Gao, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
However, restrictions on travelling into and out of the mega-city of Wuhan – where the virus first emerged – will remain in place until April 8.
One skeptical local resident, Zhang, expressing disbelief told RFA: ‘It can’t be right because the incinerators [in Wuhan], have been working round the clock, so how can so few people have died?’
Another popular estimate is based on the cremation capacity of the funeral homes, which run a total of 84 furnaces with a capacity over 24 hours of 1,560 urns city-wide, assuming that one cremation takes one hour. This calculation leads to an estimated number of 46,800 deaths.
Further confusing he accuracy of the number of people infected, an inside source in Hubei province said many residents had died in their homes without being officially diagnosed.
For Mao, another resident of Wuhan, authorities in Hubei were managing the numbers to avoid public hysteria.
‘Maybe the authorities are gradually releasing the real figures, intentionally or unintentionally, so that people will gradually come to accept the reality,’ he said.
Skeptics in the region maintain their estimated figure was not exaggerated, considering that in one month, 28,000 cremations took place.