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Rising numbers of Covid-related deaths have sparked fears of another pandemic in China after 60,000 people died from the virus in just one month.
China has only recently lifted the majority of their strict rules regarding Covid restrictions, but already the decision has wreaked havoc on the country where the virus was originally discovered. Latest official figures show the death toll has risen 1000% from the previous tally of 5,272, which was only announced on January 8.
In total, the authorities recorded 59,938 deaths between December 8 and January 12. The vast majority of those (54,435) were from both underlying diseases and Covid, while 5,503 were due to failures in respiratory function.
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However, those figures only relate to people who died in China's hospitals, meaning the death count could possibly be higher if others died at home.
As reports The Sun, the Chinese government has been accused of trying to cover up the situation by playing down the number of deaths.
Prior to the latest figures, Chinese authorities had claimed there had been five or less deaths per day in the last month. But pictures have shown hospitals in Beijing being completely overwhelmed with the rise in patients.
The surge comes after China's strict "zero-Covid" policy, which was only axed in December following protests. The average age of those who have died in the recent figures stands at 80.3.
Meanwhile families have been queuing overnight at crematoriums such is the demand for a slot as the death toll spiralled. Some have even resorted to burying their own relatives and loved ones.
Body bags have been seen piling up at morgues, though the "emergency peak" is said to have passed. Jiao Yahui, director of the National Health Commission’s medical affairs department, said: "The number of fever clinic visitors is generally on a downward trend after peaking, both in cities and rural areas."
But there are concerns cases could spike again in rural areas over celebrations for the Lunar New Year next weekend, while the World Health Organisation has urged China to be more open about the number of infected people being hospitalised or dying.
The WHO's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added in a statement: "WHO is concerned about the risk to life in China and has reiterated the importance of vaccination, including booster doses, to protect against hospitalisation, severe disease, and death."
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