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China may suspend mass tomb-sweeping activities amid COVID-19 outbreak

Updated: Mar 24,2020 07:01    Xinhua

BEIJING — China's Ministry of Civil Affairs said on March 23 that local governments may suspend group Tomb-sweeping Day activities in accordance with their local epidemic prevention and control situation to prevent mass gatherings and reduce cross-infection of the novel coronavirus.

Suspended activities include collective public offerings, scattering of ashes in the sea and non-profit burial ceremonies, according to a statement issued by the ministry. In addition, storage sites of ash remains without the capability for epidemic prevention and control could also be temporarily closed.

The decision was made as Tomb-sweeping Day, also known as Qingming Festival, approaches. On the days surrounding the traditional Chinese festival, which will fall on April 4, Chinese families usually pay their respects to ancestors, clean their graves, offer flowers and burn incense.

The ministry asked civil affairs agencies at all levels to provide varied forms of tomb-sweeping services to meet the needs of the public while urging all localities to strengthen monitoring and control of the flow of tomb-sweeping personnel.

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