Hong Kong funeral homes have warned that they only have enough coffins until February, as their main supply from Guangdong has been cut off.
Hong Kong is facing a shortage of coffins, amid a new pandemic caused by the coronavirus in China, as the city’s main supply comes from its factory in mainland China.
The coffin factory in Guangdong was ordered to close on Feb. 10, to prevent the spread of the corona virus. This led funeral homes in Hong Kong to warn that the number of coffins in stock could be depleted in a few days.
Kwok Hoi Pong, president of the Hong Kong Funeral Business Association, said that the ban included delivery of finished coffins to Hong Kong.
According to Kwok, Guangdong accounts for 99% of the coffins used in the city, with demand ranging from 120-140 pieces per day. “Our association met on February 1 and realized that we were out of stock. In the worst case, the stock of coffins may be depleted in a week, ”Mr. Kwok said.
The association sought help from the Hong Kong government: “We were so desperate, we sent a letter to the relevant authorities before the end of the meeting,” Mr. Kwok said.
Kwok said the shortage was eased a few days later, when the Hong Kong government raised the issue with the Hong Kong, Macau Affairs Office and the Guangdong Government Council.
“Our suppliers in Guangdong were allowed to send finished coffins to Hong Kong,” Kwok said. A spokesman for the Hong Kong Food and Environment Department asked the mainland authorities to allow coffin production plants in Guangdong to resume production as soon as possible.
The storage of coffins in Hong Kong may only last until February. Photo: SCMP.
Although the mainland government has allowed the production and sale of coffins for Hong Kong and the shortage of supply has been temporarily resolved. However, of the 4 factories that restarted production, only about a third of the factory workers returned to work.
Kwok said the current supply is only enough for the end of February. He also said that the number of finished coffins in Guangdong is now around 2,000 feet. “If our suppliers are unable to restore full production, we may have to consider sourcing from Southeast Asian countries to make up for this shortfall,” Kwok said.
Kwok, however, said the price of coffins from Southeast Asian suppliers was six times higher than buying in Guangdong.