China mourns COVID-19 victims

China mourns COVID-19 victims
People bow their heads during a national moment of mourning for victims of coronavirus at an official ceremony in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province, Saturday. (AP)
BEIJING, APR 4 (IANS) | Publish Date: 4/4/2020 1:36:20 PM IST

Chinese President Xi Jinping led the country on Saturday in observing a national day of mourning for those who lost their lives in the coronavirus pandemic that originated in the Asian giant last December, it was reported.

Clad in black, Xi paid his respects to victims of the outbreak with three minutes of silence starting at 10 a.m. (local time), reports the South China Morning Post(SCMP) newspaper.

As people stood in silence, the sound of air sirens blasted across the country along with horns from cars, trains, and ships.

All of the six other Politburo Standing Committee members also joined the ceremony, along with other senior leaders including Vice President Wang Qishan, Vice Premier Liu He, Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, Politburo member Yang Jiechi, director of the General Office of the Communist Party Ding Xuexiang and Beijing party chief Cai Qi.

This is the first time China has held a national day of mourning for a public health crisis, said the SCMP report. In Wuhan, where the pandemic was first reported, a separate ceremony was led by Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, Hubei party chief Ying Yong and head of National Health Commission Ma Xiaowei, with other participants.

Flags across the country and at overseas embassies were flown at half-mast, and all public entertainment was suspended for the day.

On Friday, the Chinese government had announced that the day of mourning would be for the “martyrs” and “compatriots” who had died during the pandemic, as the country has sought to slowly relax travel restrictions and resume work.

Although the pandemic originated in China, other countries like the US and Italy have surpassed the Asian giant in terms of both deaths and cases.

According to figures from the Washington-based Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), China reported 82,518 cornfirmed cases with 3,330 deaths.

Currently, the US has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world at 277,953 and has registered 7,152 deaths, with New York, the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, accounting for 1,867 of the total count, the CSSE figures showed.

Italy accounts for the highest number of deaths at 14,681, while in terms of cases, it comes second after the US with 119,827 infections.

Spain has the third highest number of cases and the second largest death toll at 119,199 and 11,198, respectively.

Globally, the overall number of of infections has increased to 1,099,389, with 58,901 deaths, while 226,603 people have recovered from the disease.


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