China to observe April 4 as mourning day for over 3,300 coronavirus victims

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April 03, 2020 7:49 PM

China held its last national day of mourning in May 2008 for the victims of the Wenchuan earthquake in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, which killed more than 69,000 people.

Chinese officials earlier said that over 3,000 medical personnel contracted the disease. (Reuters)

China will observe a national day of mourning on Saturday for martyrs, including the “whistleblower” Dr Li Wenliang, who sacrificed their lives in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak and the over 3,300 people who died of the infection in the country.

During the commemoration, national flags will fly at half-mast across the country and in all Chinese embassies and consulates abroad, and public recreational activities will be suspended across the country, official media reported on Friday.

At 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Chinese people nationwide will observe three minutes of silence to mourn the deceased, while air raid sirens and horns of automobiles, trains and ships will wail in grief. Fourteen frontline workers in Central China’s Hubei Province, including “whistleblower” Dr Li, were identified as martyrs on Thursday for sacrificing their lives in combating the COVID-19 outbreak.

The first group of martyrs includes 12 medics, one police officer and one community worker who fought on the frontlines. According to the list, eight martyrs were members of the Communist Party of China. The oldest one was a 73-year-old while the youngest was 30 years old.

Li, 34, an ophthalmologist was one of the eight “whistleblowers” who tried to warn other medical workers of the novel coronavirus outbreak but was reprimanded by the local police. He died on February 7 after contracting COVID-19.

The national mourning day will be observed to express the nation’s deep sorrow for the deaths of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting the COVID-19 and people who died because of the outbreak, state-run Global Times reported.

Chinese officials earlier said that over 3,000 medical personnel contracted the disease. According to official reports, 10 medical staff, including doctors, died of the disease. China’s National Health Commission (NHC) on Friday said that it received reports of 31 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland on Thursday, of which 29 were imported.

Two new domestic cases were reported- one in Liaoning Province and one in Guangdong Province. Also, on Thursday, four deaths, all in Hubei Province, took the death toll in the country to 3,322. On the same day, 60 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were reported on the mainland, including seven imported. NHC said that 1,027 asymptomatic cases were still under medical observation, including 221 from abroad.

Asymptomatic coronavirus cases are those who test positive for the virus but do not show any symptoms and have the potential to cause sporadic clusters of infections. As of Thursday, a total of 81,620 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported on the Chinese mainland, and 3,322 people had died of the disease. Saturday also marks China’s Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day. It is a tradition for the Chinese people to pay respect to their ancestors, deceased family members and national heroes and martyrs on the day of the festival.

China held its last national day of mourning in May 2008 for the victims of the Wenchuan earthquake in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, which killed more than 69,000 people.

Meanwhile, the Politburo of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held a meeting on Tuesday, analysing the economic situation and decided on matters concerning the economy in the second half of the year.

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting. The Chinese economy maintained the steadily advancing momentum in the first half of 2019, with the main macroeconomic indicators remaining in the reasonable range, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, three days after the meeting.

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