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Czech crematoria overcrowded due to growing number of Covid-19 victims – Abroad – News

For several weeks now, the Czech Republic has been the worst affected country in Europe, with new Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

In the Czech Republic, with a population of 10.7 million, the number of new Covid-19 deaths since the end of October is around 200 per day. The average number of deaths per day from all causes of death in the Czech Republic has generally been around 300.

“We are overwhelmed, with many more deaths than usual,” said Josef Melih, owner of a private crematorium in the central city of Tabor.

“The increase is around 40%. We cover nursing homes where most people die with Covid-19. It’s severe,” Melih said in an interview with news agency AFP.

The European Federation of Funeral Services informed that cremation is the most popular funeral method in the Czech Republic, which has 27 crematoria.

In 2016, more than four-fifths of the deceased were cremated in the Czech Republic. Only five other countries had a higher proportion of cremated corpses, including Japan, which was the world leader in this respect with 99.98% of cremated corpses.

“Naturally, Covid-19 is a burden on all crematoria,” said Ivo Furmanchik, director of the crematorium in the eastern city of Ostrava.

“We are working non-stop; as the second wave of the virus collides with the increase in the number of deaths typical of autumn, we have capacity problems,” Furmanchik said.

As demand grew, the Ostrava Crematorium had to double its capacity in a week by building a new refrigerator.

The pandemic has also changed the way relatives say goodbye to the deceased. The passers-by are no longer washed, combed or clothed, but are simply placed in plastic bags that are disinfected and then placed in coffins.

The funeral is also affected by the government’s restriction that no more than 10 people can take part in the removal.

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