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Iran Press TV

China holds moment of mourning for victims of coronavirus pandemic

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 04 April 2020 6:53 AM

China has held a nation-wide commemoration to mourn the thousands of victims of the coronavirus pandemic in the world's most populous country, flying the national flag at half mast and observing a three-minute silence across the nation.

The day of mourning on Saturday coincided with the beginning of China's annual Qingming tomb-sweeping festival – when millions of people honor their ancestors – as citizens paused at 10 am local time, while cars, trains and ships sounded their horns and air-raid sirens rang out to pay tribute to over 3,000 patients and medical staff killed by the virus.

As China's national flag flew at half mast nation-wide, President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders also paid silent tribute in front of the national flag in Beijing with white flowers pinned to their chest as a sign of mourning, according to local press reports.

Authorities, however, have discouraged visits to cemeteries to mark the festival.

"We advocate people staying home and having small-scale memorials at home to remember the dead," said an official of China's department of social affairs, Fan Yu.

Meanwhile, cemeteries throughout China are offering a "cloud tomb-sweeping" service in which families can honor their ancestors by watching a live stream of cemetery workers attending to graves on their behalf.

In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the epicenter of the outbreak, all traffic lights in the city turned red at 10 am and all road traffic halted for three minutes.

Nearly 2,600 people have died in the city of 11 million people, accounting for over 75 percent of China's coronavirus victims.

Some restrictions in Hubei have been eased in recent weeks after the officially stated number of new infections in China dropped to near zero.

More than 3,300 people across the country have so far lost their lives in the pandemic, which first surfaced in the central Hubei province late last year, according to figures released by China's National Health Commission.

As of Friday, the commission further stated, the total number of confirmed cases across China stood at 81,639 -- including 19 new infections.

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