03/04/2020, 13.20
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Italy’s Chinese told not to go home for Qingming, the tomb-sweeping festival

by Wang Zhicheng

Qingtian County (Zhejiang) fears a return of people infected with the virus. At least 100,000 people from Qingtian live in Italy. In China, the downward trajectory of the epidemic continues: only 119 new positive cases and 38 new deaths were reported yesterday. For the WHO, the new coronavirus has killed so far 3.4 per cent of infected people, by comparison, seasonal flu kills 1.1 per cent of patients.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Qingtian County (Zhejiang) has issued an advisory asking locals living abroad, especially in Italy, not to return for the Qingming festival on 4 April, to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Qingming is one of the most important holidays in the Chinese year, with people sweeping and cleaning the tombs of parents and ancestors.

In Qingtian, local authorities issued the advisory after a recently arrived Chinese family from Italy tested positive for the virus.

The family, which is now in solitary confinement, appears to have been infected in Bergamo (northern Italy), where they worked at a restaurant. The Bergamo area seems to be a third hotspot for the virus in Italy, after Codogno (Lombardy) and Vo’ Euganeo (Veneto).

According to Caixin, which cites Qingtian government officials, at least 100,000 people from the county live in Italy.

“When Tomb Sweeping Day approaches every year, Chinese migrants who did not return during the Lunar New Year will return home to worship their ancestors,” said a source in the Qingtian County Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, adding that “This year they may return slightly early because of overseas epidemics”. Meanwhile, hundreds of returnees have been quarantined.

Across China, the official count continues to slow down with only 119 new confirmed cases reported yesterday, bringing the total number to 80,422. Also yesterday, 38 people were confirmed dead, with the death tally now standing at 2,984. Some 49,914 people have recovered.

In other countries, especially Italy, Iran and South Korea, the epidemic is getting worse. The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the new coronavirus has killed so far 3.4 per cent of the people it has infected. By comparison, seasonal flu kills 1.1 per cent of patients.

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