A convoy of more than 30 ambulances sounded their sirens on Monday in Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo, in a one-minute tribute to the fatal victims of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The ceremony, held in downtown Sao Paulo's Largo de Arouche Square as part of annual Day of the Dead events, brought together first responders and ambulance drivers, as well as authorities from the state and local governments.
"During the minute of silence, we sounded the ambulance sirens so the people take into account the memory and respect for those who died," said Jean Gorinchteyn, health secretary for the state of Sao Paulo.
In addition, "it serves to call attention to wearing face masks and respecting social distancing to fight the pandemic," said Gorinchteyn.
Prevention is key as countries wait for effective vaccines to be developed, he said.
The state of Sao Paulo, the most industrialized and populated in Brazil, with 46 million inhabitants, also covered 16 of the city's most emblematic monuments in symbols of mourning with the inscription "Wear a mask."
The state of Sao Paulo has seen a quarter of all COVID-19 fatalities and infections in Brazil, with 39,331 deaths and 1,117,147 cases of infection as of Sunday night.