“The storage space in hospital mortuaries has reached full capacity,” the authority told Reuters in an email.
Dozens of bodies are waiting in hospital accident and emergency rooms to be transported to mortuaries, said Tony Ling, head of the city’s Public Doctors Association.
“These bodies now need extra time to wait for collection because resources are just so tight,” due to manpower and storage capacity shortages, he said.
The government did not respond to requests for comment.
There have been more than 600 coronavirus-linked deaths in Hong Kong since the start of the pandemic in 2020, fewer than in other similar major cities.
However, numbers are climbing daily with about 400 deaths recorded in the past week, with the majority being unvaccinated residents.
Hong Kong has a large proportion of unvaccinated elderly despite a recent pick-up in vaccinations. Many have hesitated to be inoculated due to a fear of side effects and complacency due to the city’s success in controlling the virus in 2021.
About 600 elderly care and disability centres have been infected over the past month, authorities said.
Medical experts have said the city of 7.4 million residents could see cumulative deaths from the virus potentially rising to about 3,200 by mid-May.
About 4,000 people on average die each month in Hong Kong, according to 2020 government figures.
Hong Kong has stuck firmly to a “dynamic zero” coronavirus policy which seeks to curb all outbreaks, like that in China. To achieve this, the former British colony has unleashed its most draconian measures since the start of the pandemic, adding to rules that were already among the world’s toughest.
The city has recorded more than 190,000 infections in total, with about 180,000 of them since the start of February due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The government has in recent days communicated to the public at press conferences that the deaths are mostly among unvaccinated people. Previously that information was not readily given.