Sun | May 31, 2020

China honours virus victims with 3 minutes of reflection

Published:Saturday | April 4, 2020 | 9:38 AM
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, medical workers bow their heads during a national moment of mourning for victims of coronavirus in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Saturday, April 4, 2020. (Cai Yang/Xinhua via AP)

WUHAN, China (AP) — With air raid sirens wailing and flags at half-mast, China on Saturday held a three-minute nationwide moment of reflection to honour those who have died in the coronavirus outbreak, especially “martyrs” who fell while fighting what has become a global pandemic.

Commemorations took place at 10:00 a.m. in all major cities, but were particularly poignant in Wuhan, the industrial centre where the virus was first detected in December.

Wuhan was placed under complete lockdown on January 23 in an effort to stem the spread of the virus and has been lauded as a “heroic city” by the nation’s communist leadership for the sacrifices made by its 11 million citizens.

People have gradually been allowed to travel in and out of Wuhan under strict conditions. The quarantine on the city is to be formally lifted on Wednesday.

In Beijing, President Xi Jinping led other top officials, all dressed in black suits with white carnations, as they bowed before a flag at half-mast in the leadership compound of Zhongnanhai.

On Saturday, China reported one new confirmed case in Wuhan and 18 among people arriving from abroad, along with four new deaths, all in Wuhan.

China now has recorded a total of 81,639 cases and 3,326 deaths, although those figures are generally considered to be understated because of a lack of testing and a reluctance to report the scale of the original outbreak.

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