China Struggles to Contain New JE.1 COVID Variant; 24-Hour Cremations and High Mortality Rates

RNS: The emergence of the new JE.1 variant of the coronavirus has sparked worldwide concerns, with notable impacts seen in countries such as Britain, China, and the United States. Reports from China reveal a surge in COVID-19-related deaths, leading to mortuaries operating round the clock. The JE.1 variant is believed to be a major contributor to this situation, and it has been classified as a variant of interest by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO has documented an increase in JE.1 variant cases across several nations in recent weeks. Meanwhile, residents of China’s Henan province have shared alarming accounts of the situation. One individual, Mr. Zhu, disclosed that government-operated mortuaries are continuously cremating bodies without interruption. He revealed that all eight mortuaries at the funeral home are working non-stop, describing the situation as extremely distressing.

Furthermore, these sources indicate that government crematoriums are struggling to meet the surging demand for their services. Over the past three years, several private crematoriums have opened, responding to the growing need. The proliferation of local crematoriums is ongoing. The influx of deceased individuals has necessitated storage in freezers before cremation due to capacity constraints. While China currently reports 118,977 positive COVID-19 cases, including 7,557 in critical condition, the exact death toll has not been officially disclosed.

India is grappling with a swift rise in COVID-19 cases, largely attributed to the Delta Plus (JE.1) variant. The variant has now been detected in six states, totaling 63 cases across the country. Goa has reported the highest number of cases at 34, followed by Maharashtra with 9, Karnataka with 8, Kerala with 6, Tamil Nadu with 4, and Telangana with 2 cases. Authorities are closely monitoring other states for the presence of the Delta Plus variant. The central government has issued a warning, emphasising the importance of caution and preventive measures.

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