A German city has begun storing its dead in a mobile freezer after the hospital morgues ran out of space due to an increase in coronavirus deaths.
Cemetery workers in Hanau, 16 km outside Frankfurt, used the mobile freezer on Thursday, which currently contains two bodies.
It comes after the country suffered a record 956 deaths on Wednesday. The toll on Thursday was 698, Germany’s second highest total number of pandemics.
These numbers helped ensure that Europe passed the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths from coronavrius on Thursday, becoming the first region of the world to do so.
The bodies in the German city of Hanau are now being kept in a temporary freezer after the morgues overflowed amid the surge in coronavirus deaths
Cemetery workers said two bodies were stored in the container on Thursday, which was first brought to the city in April but has not yet been used
Latin America and the Caribbean reported 477,404 deaths, the US and Canada 321,287, Asia 208,149, the Middle East 85,895, and Africa 57,423.
Alexandra Kinski, head of the cemeteries, said about the freezers in Hanau that they were brought to the city in April as a precaution.
“Unfortunately, the situation in Hanau has changed so much that we now have to use the containers,” she added.
“When a person dies and there is no more room in the clinic, they come here and stay for a short time until the deceased is brought to a final resting place.”
Seven-day averages for Germany, which takes into account natural peaks and troughs in the data, show that deaths have risen steadily since early November.
The seven-day average on Thursday was 536, more than double the high of 233 during the first wave. The death toll in Germany is 24,125.
The country also reported 26,923 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total to more than 1.4 million.
Average case data of seven days show that infections have increased over the past fourteen days.
Germany, originally praised for its virus response during the first wave, was hit hard during a second wave after avoiding a full lockdown seen in other European countries this fall.
Chancellor Angela Merkel was now forced to change direction, which resulted in a “tough lockdown” on Wednesday, where shops and schools were closed until January and social gatherings were limited during the Christmas break.
Alcohol is forbidden in public places – this will stop traditional mulled wine stalls at Christmas markets – and hairdressers and salons will also be closed.
Merkel agreed the strict restrictions with the heads of state on Sunday and repeatedly sounded the alarm about the high infection rate.
Germany is hit hard by a second wave of the coronavirus, which has brought the seven-day average for cases to a record level (picture)
The seven-day average death dates, which take into account natural peaks and troughs when reporting numbers, have also risen to a record high as the outbreak spins out of control