İrem GÖL -TDO- China on Saturday observed a national day of mourning for the thousands of “martyrs” who have dies in the new coronavirus outbreak, flying the national flag at half-mast and suspending all forms of entertainment. Throughout the country, people stopped at 10 am to bow their heads for three minutes, while car, train and ship horns sounded and air raid sirens blared in the background. In Zhongnanhai, the seat of political power in Beijing, President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders paid tribute in front of the flag, with white flowers pinned to their chests as a mark of mourning.

In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the centre of the outbreak, all traffic lights turned red at 10 am, and all road traffic ceased for three minutes. Some 2,567 people have died in the city of 11 million people, accounting for more than 75% of mainland China’s coronavirus fatalities. Among those who perished was Li Wenliang, a young doctor reprimanded by police in Wuhan for “spreading rumours” when tried to raise the alarm about the disease. He was later exonerated.

The country, where the virus first appeared in late December, has officially recorded over 3,300 deaths in the pandemic. On Friday, the country reported 19 new cases, the vast majority linked to foreign travel, and more than 1,030 asymptomatic patients were under medical observation.

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