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Czech Crematoriums Seek Help as COVID-19-Related Deaths Soar

czech crematoriums covid

Some Czech crematoriums are near or at capacity due to a spike in coronavirus deaths, and they are looking for alternative cremation sites, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček said on Wednesday.

The Czech Republic has been struggling with another surge of the illness, with new records in daily cases and rising hospital admissions pointing to more victims in the coming weeks.

The country’s 12.7 deaths per million using the latest seven-day average was the world’s highest rate, according to the ourworldindata.org website supported by Oxford University.

Hamacek said the situation was hardest in the eastern region of Moravia-Silesia, while in other regions facilities were almost operating at full capacity. The deceased would have to be moved between regions, he said.

“Right now, one such transport of around 50 bodies needs to be done, and we will act similarly in other cases,” he said at a televised press conference. “We will have to find a complex solution for the whole country.”

In the past week, 127 people with COVID-19 died each day on average in the country of 10.7 million people, and those numbers are likely to be revised up.

In a regular year, around 300 people die each day from all causes, but that number spiked to as many as 600 in the worst two weeks at the turn of October and November 2020. The overall data is reported with a six-week lag.

The funeral services association spokeswoman Hanka Svechotova said numbers were now “reaching a somewhat critical level”.

The crematorium in the eastern city of Ostrava as well as the hospital in the nearby city of Olomouc, however, have placed freezer trucks outside to store bodies.

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