The extraordinary lengths to which Hong Kong is prepared to go to drum up publicity in the wake of the Sars crisis became clear yesterday. The government plans to build the world's biggest drum to beat the virus. Visitors from around the globe will be invited to take part in a ceremony in which it is hoped hundreds of thousands will beat the drum to drive away the virus and symbolise the unity of the people. Choi Suk-kuen, deputy director (culture) of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, said the government would sponsor the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra to make the drum. Ms Choi said the drum would symbolise Hong Kong's 'rebirth' after dispelling Sars. 'We expect many people will participate in it. When all the people beat the drum together, the act will symbolise power and unity,' she said. She also hoped the drum would make it into the Guinness World Records. The world's largest drum is the Ireland Millennium Drum, which has a diameter of 4.72 metres and is 1.01 metres deep. It was first played at the St Patrick's Festival in Dublin in March 1999. While details such as the drum's size were still being decided, Ms Choi said drummers from around the world would be invited to beat it together. The activity is one of the highlights of the orchestra's Hong Kong Drum Festival to be held between July and November.