People pay a silent tribute to martyrs who died in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and compatriots who died of the disease in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Cheng Min)
BEIJING, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Xi Jinping led other Chinese leaders on Saturday to attend national mourning for martyrs who died fighting the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and compatriots who lost their lives in the outbreak.
Xi, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan, as well as other Party and state leaders, stood in silence in the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, at 10:00 a.m. The commemoration lasted for three minutes.
They had white flowers pinned to the chest and paid a silent tribute in front of a national flag, flying at half-mast outside the Huairen Hall.
A black banner hung over the doorway of the hall, with white characters "deeply mourn for martyrs and compatriots who died in COVID-19 outbreak."
In Beijing, flags were lowered to half-staff from Tian'anmen Square to the compounds of the central leadership organs of the Party, national legislature, central government, national political advisory body, military, top court and top procuratorate.
A moment of silence was observed by the public across the country. Air raid sirens blared. Cars, trains and ships honked horns.
In commemoration of the martyrs and deceased compatriots, national flags flew at half-mast across the country and in all Chinese embassies and consulates abroad, and public recreational activities were suspended nationwide Saturday.
In Wuhan, the hardest-hit city in central China's Hubei Province, various commemoration activities were held in public squares, hospitals, communities and other places.
The COVID-19 outbreak is considered a major public health emergency that is the fastest spreading, most widely affecting and most difficult to contain since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
During the battle, a certain number of health professionals, cadres and staff members, as well as community workers, died on duty.
A total of 81,639 confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported on the Chinese mainland, and 3,326 people had died of the disease, according to the National Health Commission Saturday. ■