Some Chinese hospitals are reportedly full as the Asian giant is battling a wave of infections that has hit the elderly.
China officially reported only a handful of deaths from the coronavirus after the government redefined the criteria by which COVID deaths are counted, according to AFP.
The publication visited some facilities on Friday AFP and witnessed several elderly and middle-aged patients sitting on sofas and lying on beds receiving IV drips, some coughing. A nurse said they all had COVID.
On Thursday evening, AFP visited a crematorium and witnessed 40 bodies being unloaded in two hours. The relatives of several of the deceased said the deaths were due to COVID.
One woman said her elderly relative, who was suffering from cold symptoms, had tested negative but died after they could not get an ambulance in time.
Under China’s new definition of COVID deaths, only those who die of respiratory failure, and not pre-existing conditions exacerbated by the virus, are counted.
That means many of the dead in Chongqing and across the country are no longer even being registered as coronavirus victims.
In response to the COVID-19 resurgence, China imposed a new wave of lockdowns and restrictions on freedom of movement in big cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Guangzhou.
Last month, anti-zero COVID protests erupted in Urumqi, China following the deaths of 10 people in an apartment block fire.
This was after footage posted on social media showed fire trucks spraying water from too far away to reach the apartment building, with internet users claiming authorities could not get closer due to pandemic barricades and cars that had been abandoned by people who had been quarantined