High SO2 levels reported around Wuhan and Chongqing, the world suspects Chinese officials of burning coronavirus corpses

WION Web Team Beijing, Beijing, China Feb 11, 2020, 04.25 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Windy.com, a Czech-based weather service showed sulphur dioxide levels in the city of Wuhan at a mind-boggling 1,350 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3), which is horrifying.

Mass cremations could be seen in Wuhan and Chongqing, following the high sulphur dioxide levels in the quarantined area. Alarming levels of SO2 around Wuhan have been detected by satellite maps in recent days, which is the epicentre of the outbreak.

Another city under quarantine is Chongqing with high levels of sulphur dioxide. Scientists agree that the cremation of human bodies is not the only way to produce this gas and that it can be created when medical waste is incinerated.

Also read: President Xi visits hospital in Beijing as coronavirus death toll crosses 1,000 in China

A plethora of users on multimedia platforms have probed the maps and are adamant in their position that this is a sure-fire sign of mass cremation on the outskirts of the city.

Cremation of coronavirus victims after minimal funerals have been ordered by Chinese authorities, who have also banned large public gatherings. A decree was issued earlier this month stating that the corpses should be “cremated close by and immediately”.

Windy.com, a Czech-based weather service showed sulphur dioxide levels in the city of Wuhan at a mind-boggling 1,350 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3), which is horrifying when taking into consideration the fact that safe dosage as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) is 500 µg/m3.

Watch: Inside Wuhan's Quarantine Centres

Per the UK government, a 15-minute concentration of 533 µg/m3 is “high”, and given the current levels, it would be an understatement to say that Wuhan and Chongqing stand out when compared to the rest of China.

It has not been verified that high SO2 levels are caused by burning virus victims due to the colourless gas produced by the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil. Areas around Beijing and Shanghai, which are not on lockdown, also displayed high levels of SO2.

A bold claim was made by a news outlet based in China named Initium when they stated that the Chinese authorities have been cremating bodies in secret. 

To back their arguments, they produced interviews with people working at local cremation centres in Wuhan who said that the bodies were sent directly from hospitals without proper identification, let alone adding them to the official record.

“There are reasons to remain sceptical about what China has been sharing with the world," claimed William Yang, a correspondent for DW News East Asia. "Because while they have been more transparent about certain things related to the virus, they continue to be sketchy and unreliable in other aspects," he added.