Chinese doctor who first warned about coronavirus outbreak dies
2020-02-06 By K J M Varma
Beijing: Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, one of the eight whistle-blowers
who warned other medics of the coronavirus outbreak but were reprimanded
by the police, died of the epidemic on Thursday, official media reported.
Li, a 34-year-old doctor who tried to warn other medics of the epidemic,
died of coronavirus on Thursday in Wuhan, the state-run Global Times reported.
He was the first to report about the virus way back in December last year
when it first emerged in Wuhan, the provincial capital of China's central Hubei province.
He dropped a bombshell in his medical school alumni group on the popular Chinese
messaging app WeChat that seven patients from a local seafood market had been
diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and quarantined in his hospital.
Li explained that, according to a test he had seen, the illness was a coronavirus
-- a large family of viruses that includes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
which led to 800 death in China and the world in 2003.
Li told his friends to warn their loved ones privately. But within hours screenshots
of his messages had gone viral - without his name being blurred.
"When I saw them circulating online, I realized that it was out of my control
and I would probably be punished," Li was quoted as saying CNN recently.
Soon after he posted the message, Li was accused of rumor-mongering by the Wuhan police.
He was one of several medics targeted by the police for trying to blow the whistle
on the deadly virus in the early weeks of the outbreak.
Overall 564 people have died in China due to the virus and 28,018 confirmed cases
have been reported from 31 provincial-level regions, the National Health Commission
reported on Thursday. PTI KJV ZH AKJ ZH ZH 02062056
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