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China pauses in memory of virus victims and ‘martyrs’

By AFP
April 05, 2020

WUHAN: China came to a standstill on Saturday to mourn patients and medical staff killed by the coronavirus, as the world’s most populous country observed a nationwide three-minute silence.

At 10 am (0200 GMT), citizens paused, cars, trains and ships sounded their horns, and air-raid sirens rang out in memory of the more than 3,000 lives claimed by the virus in China. In Wuhan — the city where the virus first emerged late last year — sirens and horns sounded as people fell silent in the streets.

Tongji Hospital staff stood outside with heads bowed towards the main building, some in the protective hazmat suits that have become a symbol of the crisis worldwide.

Workers in protective wear paused silently beside barriers at one residential community — a reminder there are still tight restrictions on everyday life across Wuhan. State media showed Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials standing outside a Beijing government compound, wearing white flowers. National flags were lowered to half-mast across the country, including in the capital’s Tiananmen Square. Pedestrians in a busy shopping district stopped and kept their heads low in silent tribute, while police stood with their riot shields down and bowed heads.