Covid-19: Over 1,000 unclaimed bodies in cold storage as Hong Kong funeral homes struggle to meet demand

Hong Kong’s funeral parlours have been unable to process all the deaths that occurred during the fifth wave of Covid-19, as health authorities reported that over 1,000 bodies remained unclaimed in public facilities awaiting funeral arrangements.

Director of Health, Dr Ronald Lam (right), accompanied by the the Consultant Forensic Pathologist-in-charge of the Department of Health, Dr Poon Wai-ming (left) inspected the new Fu Shan Public Mortuary on March 27. It is about to be completed and will store an extra 800 bodies. File photo: HK Gov.

The Department of Health issued a statement on Wednesday appealing to family members of the deceased to claim their bodies as soon as possible. The department said the identification procedures for some 1,800 bodies had been completed, but as of Wednesday there were still about 1,100 stored at its facilities.

Speaking on an RTHK radio show on Friday morning, Kwok Hoi-pong, the chairperson of the Funeral Business Association, said the city’s funeral services were already running at capacity. Kwok said that businesses in the sector estimated it would take two to three weeks to handle the unclaimed bodies.

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