China on Saturday mourned the thousands of “martyrs” who have died in the new coronavirus break out, flying the national flag at half mast throughout the country and suspending all forms of entertainment.
The day of mourning accompanied the start of the annual Qingming tomb-sweeping festival when millions of Chinese families pay respects to their forefathers.
At 10 a.m. (02:00 GMT) Beijing time, the country observed three minutes of silence to grieve those who died, including frontline medical workers and doctors. Cars, trains, and ships sounded their horns, and air raid sirens wailed.
In Zhongnanhai, the seat of political power in Beijing, President Xi Jinping, and other Chinese leaders paid silent tribute in front of the national flag, with white flowers pinned to their chest as a mark of mourning, state media reported.
More than 3,300 people in mainland China have died in the epidemic, which first appeared in the central province of Hubei late last year, according to statistics published by the National Health Commission.
In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the epicenter of the breakout, all traffic control in metropolitan locations turned red at 10 a.m., and all road traffic stopped for three minutes.
Some 2,567 people have died in the city of 11 million people, accounting for more than 75% of the country’s coronavirus deaths.
Amongst those who died was Li Wenliang, a young doctor reprimanded by police in Wuhan for “spreading rumors” when he attempted to raise the alarm about the disease.
Ever Since, the infection has infected all corners of the world, sickening more than a million, killing over 55,000 people and paralyzing the world economy.
The total number of confirmed cases reported in the United States now goes beyond China’s official tally by threefold.
“Li Wenliang was a hero, he found out about it early…now it’s too late, but now our country is stronger than others,” stated Gan Weineng, 78, a Wuhan resident.
Wuhan also prohibited all tomb-sweeping activities in its cemeteries up until a minimum of April 30, curtailing among the most important dates in the traditional Chinese lunar new year calendar, which usually sees millions of families travel to tend to their ancestral graves, use flowers and burn incense.
They have also told residents, most stuck at home due to lockdown restrictions, to utilize online streaming services, which will permit them to watch cemetery staff carrying out those tasks live.
Some residents burned joss paper, a tradition which they think sends money and wealth to departed family members, on sidewalks, and within the confines of their barricaded housing compounds.
Online, celebrities including “X-Men: Days of Future Past” star Fan Bingbing swapped their glamorous social media profile photos for somber photos in grey or black, garnering millions of “likes” from fans.
Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent suspended all online games on Saturday.
As of Friday, the total number of confirmed cases across the country stood at 81,639, consisting of 19 new infections, the National Health Commission stated.
Eighteen of the new cases included tourists getting here from abroad. The remaining one new infection was a local case in Wuhan, a previously asymptomatic patient.
Asymptomatic people exhibit few signs of infection such as fevers or coughs and are not included in the tally of confirmed cases by Chinese authorities until they do.
However, they are still contagious, and the government has warned of possible local transmissions if such asymptomatic cases are not properly monitored.
China reported 64 new asymptomatic cases as of Friday, consisting of 26 tourists getting here in the country from overseas That takes the overall number of asymptomatic people currently under medical observation to 1,030, consisting of 729 in Hubei.
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