Coronavirus: China Pays Tribute to its Covid-19 Dead

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China pays tribute to the Coronavirus Covid-19 deaths

The country froze three minutes this Saturday for a tribute to the 3326 people who died from the Coronavirus Covid-19. 14 people are called “martyrs”.

China froze on Saturday morning for a moment of national meditation of three minutes in memory of the 3326 people who died as a result of the Coronavirus Covid-19 epidemic on the national territory.

At 10:00 local time (02:00 GMT), Saturday 4th April 2020, the sirens sounded everywhere in the most populous country in the world, while cars, trains and boats sounded their horns as a sign of respect.

National flag at half mast

In Wuhan (centre), a city of 11 million inhabitants from which the epidemic started and which recorded most of the deaths, medical staff were gathered head down for a tribute ceremony.

In the capital Beijing, motorists stopped their vehicles to honk their horns and pedestrians remained motionless looking serious on the sidewalk, some with their shopping bags in their hands, AFP noted.

President Xi Jinping has gathered with the other main Communist leaders in the vast Beijing complex that houses the seat of power, according to images from national television CCTV.

On Saturday’s day of mourning, the national flag was flown at half-mast across the country. And out of respect for the deceased, China prohibits all public leisure activities for its 1.4 billion inhabitants.

Passers-by meditate during the national tribute for the dead of the Covid-19, on April 4, 2020 in Beijing.
Passers-by meditate during the national tribute for the dead of the Covid-19, on April 4, 2020 in Beijing. (© AFP / WANG ZHAO)

14 “martyrs”

This meditation is also in memory of the 14 people qualified Thursday by the government as “martyrs” of the epidemic. They are mainly deceased healthcare workers.

Among them are Doctor Li Wenliang, who died of the Covid-19 in Wuhan. The 34-year-old ophthalmologist had been reprimanded by the police for spreading what she described as “rumours”. He had in fact alerted colleagues to the spread of a virus similar to SARS.

His death in early February had caused an outcry in public opinion and a frenzy of rare magnitude against the government. The government has since rehabilitated the doctor’s honour in hopes of quelling popular anger.

The day of meditation on Saturday coincides with the feast of Qingming, the “Chinese All Saints Day” where the Chinese will generally maintain the graves of their deceased relatives.

But the authorities, who fear a second epidemic wave in the country, remain on their guard and have discouraged the population from going to the cemeteries.

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