German crematorium struggles to keep up with COVID

If ever there was a place that shows the death toll from the pandemic, this would would be it.

At this crematorium in Saxony, eastern Germany, employees have been working around the clock, seven days a week.

Its manager says the death rate has doubled, starting in November, as the area struggles with a second wave.

Some coffins are marked "risk of infection." Joerg Schaldach says it's doubly hard because they can't allow next of kin to say goodbye to their loved ones.

"People can no longer be visited at the hospital and you can't hold their hand anymore as they die. All you get is a call: 'deceased.' A farewell at the coffin is not possible. All you get is an urn. That's the problem the next of kin are faced with, they have to deal with their grief. It's a very, very difficult process for people to send off a loved one and get the person back in an urn."

Germany has surpassed two million coronavirus infections and its death toll has reached almost 45,000, experts said on Friday.

Fears over more contagious variants are fanning concerns that existing lockdown measures aren't tough enough.

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