(Minghui.org) After hitting major cities in China, the wave of surging COVID cases is rolling towards smaller cities and the countryside.

One doctor in Gaoping Town Clinic, Hunan Province, told RFA on January 4, “It is crowded here and we are running out of beds. With so many patients, we [doctors] have been working every day for two weeks with no time off at all. Some of us have fever, but are still working here unless it is really serious.”

It is a similar situation in Zhenzi Town of Hubei Province, which has about 10,000 residents. “We have over 30 medical workers and have been running at capacity. We are even overloaded,” described one doctor from the township health center to RFA on January 4. “This started after the COVID policy was lifted.”

The situation in Yichang City in Hubei is also grave. With every officer in Xiling District Police Department infected, no one is on duty even in the front office.

A doctor from Guangzhou City in Guangdong Province said that, based on his observation, the infection rate in the countryside of Guangdong could have exceeded 50%. A Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official in Henan Province announced during a press conference on January 9 that the province-wide infection rate was 89.0% as of January 6. It was 89.1% in the urban areas and 88.9% in the countryside.

An article in Zhejiang Daily titled “A county-level hospital amid COVID” described the busy work at Haiyang County Hospital. This facility has treated up to 14,000 patients per day lately, 10 times higher than normal, and the fever clinic accepted patients 24 hours a day.

Death Toll Keeps Rising in Major Cities

More people in Beijing and Shanghai have died of COVID. Lu Jianzhang, former Vice President and Deputy Party Secretary of Coal Research Institute, died in Beijing on January 5. The Retirement Office in Beijing University Medical Center published 21 obituaries of its current and retired employees in two weeks since December 20. The youngest one was 56-year-old Li Ying in the human resources department. The Shanghai Jiaotong University Medical Center announced 10 deaths between December 29, 2022, and January 3, 2023.

Liu Mingzu, former Party Secretary of Inner Mongolia, died in Weihai City of Shandong Province on December 28. College of History and Culture in Shaanxi Normal University published an obituary saying that Chen Lei, a deputy-director level officer, died at 43 on January 3.

Overcrowded Crematories

Netizens said the crematories in Chengdu City of Sichuan Province have been extremely busy, with their furnaces running non-stop. There are too many dead bodies there and the facilities once even stopped accepting new bodies. After a woman died of COVID in Chengdu, her family had to pay 8,000 to find a spot at a crematory in Pengzhou City, 70 kilometers away from Chengdu. One township employee in Chongqing said the crematory there is booked solid until the end of January 2023.

Planet Labs, a California-based firm that provides earth imaging, said long lines of vehicles had appeared outside many Chinese cities’ crematories since late December. For example, according to VOA, the traffic near Panyu District Crematory in Guangdong Province and Shenyang Crematory in Liaoning Province was unprecedented in the past 10 years.

One resident in Tianjin, Mr. Z, told VOA that his father had fever and decreased blood oxygen levels on December 17. He was sent to emergency rescue at Tianjin Hospital on December 25 and died on December 29. That night, Mr. Z saw bodies being carried out and all of them appeared to be elderly.

At Tianjin Third Crematory, Mr. Z was told that the facility used to burn 40 bodies a day and now it was more than 200. It takes about 40 minutes to an hour to burn a body. “There are vehicles and people everywhere,” he explained. “A friend working at a crematory said at least 100,000 people had died in the city since December 12. And the peak has yet to arrive.”

Overseas Reactions

Victor Wang, commander of Central Epidemic Command Center in Taiwan, said that 8,259 inbound Chinese visitors had been screened by nucleic acid testing since January 1. Among them, 1,571 (19%) tested positive.

More countries have imposed curbs on China arrivals in response to the COVID Tsunami in China. Hungary required inbound travelers from China to provide negative COVID testing results beginning January 8. Belgium, Sweden, and United Kingdom also announced new requirements for travelers from China. German authorities recommended its residents to avoid travel to China. The European Union urged its member states to mandate COVID testing for China arrivals before departure, mask-wearing on flights, and testing waste water on airplanes.

The WHO again asked the Chinese communist regime on January 4 for reliable information on COVID hospitalization and deaths. Some officials believed earlier numbers from Chinese authorities had underestimated both hospitalizations and deaths. Last month China changed its criteria for COVID death and information received by Minghui showed officials at all levels discouraged the reporting of COVID as cause of deaths.

"We believe that definition [of a COVID death] is too narrow," WHO emergencies director Dr Michael Ryan said recently. China’s numbers “under-represent the true impact of the disease in terms of hospital admissions, in terms of ICU admissions, and particularly in terms of deaths,” he added.