Corpses are being temporarily stored outside a crematorium in the eastern German city of Zittau as it struggles to deal with the number of dead.
Zittau Mayor Thomas Zenker said bodies are being kept in a warehouse used to store flood prevention materials, with bodies transported from the flood plain to the crematorium when a space opens up.
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It comes as Germany on Wednesday experienced a record number of daily fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
Germany recorded 962 deaths in the 24 hours to Wednesday, along with 24,740 new infections – only 3000 shy of the record daily total.
German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier said that the country’s lockdown was likely to be extended beyond the current end date of January 10 as a result.
“As long as Germany is a huge hotspot, loosening is practically impossible,” Altmaier said.
Zittau has had triple the number of deaths so far in December when compared with 2019, with the cremations “exceeding the capacity of the Zittau crematorium”, the city said.
A total of 45 people died in the city in December of 2019. So far in 2020, 115 people have died. In November, the figure reached 110 compared with 52 in 2019.
Over the Christmas period, the city’s administrative staff have been ordered to work additional shifts to help administer the additional deaths.
The city has requested help from the district of Görlitz and the state government in hard-hit Saxony, while the German army has also been called in to help.
The Zittau medical clinic told Germany’s Sächsische Zeitung newspaper that it is full and can no longer accept coronavirus patients.
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