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Coronavirus 'kills Chinese whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang'

February 6th, 2020 | Tags:
Dr Li Wenliang posted a picture of himself on social media from his hospital bed. Photo: Dr Li Wenliang
BBC NEWS

A Chinese doctor who tried to issue the first warnings about the deadly coronavirus outbreak has died of the infection, Chinese media say.

Li Wenliang was working as an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital when he sent out a warning to fellow medics on 30 December.

Police then visited him to tell him to stop, as authorities tried to keep the news under wraps.

The virus has now killed more than 560 people and infected 28,000 in China.

The coronavirus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough. Most people infected are likely to fully recover - just as they would from a flu.

What is Li Wenliang's story?

The ophthalmologist posted his story on the Weibo site from a hospital bed a month after sending out his initial warning.

Dr Li, 34, had noticed seven cases of a virus that he thought looked like Sars - the virus that led to a global epidemic in 2003.

On 30 December he sent a message to fellow doctors in a chat group warning them to wear protective clothing to avoid infection.

Four days later he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau where he was told to sign a letter. In the letter he was accused of "making false comments" that had "severely disturbed the social order".

He was one of eight people who police said were being investigated for "spreading rumours"

Local authorities later apologised to Dr Li.

In his Weibo post he describes how on 10 January he started coughing, the next day he had a fever and two days later he was in hospital. He was diagnosed with the coronavirus on 30 January.

A number of posts on Chinese social media sites have expressed grief over his death.

Most of the coronavirus victims were over the age of 60 or suffered from other medical conditions, according to China's health authorities. Dr Li's medical history is not known.

What is the latest on the virus in China?

China is introducing more restrictive measures to try to control the outbreak.

Beijing has banned group dining for events such as birthdays and weddings while cities such as Hangzhou and Nanchang are limiting how many family members can leave home each day.

Hubei province, the worst hit by the virus, has switched off lifts in high-rise buildings to discourage residents from going outside.

Its capital, Wuhan, has a lack of beds and equipment, one senior city official said. Despite the rapid construction of two hospitals, the volume of patients is causing severe strain.

Reports on social media say the Wuhan government is to carry out door-to-door temperature checks on residents.

What has the response been to the crackdowns?

Human Rights Watch has criticised them, saying China was "treating public health with a sledgehammer".

Executive director Kenneth Roth said China had suppressed reports in the early days of the outbreak and clamped down on criticism of its handling of the crisis.

"There's no place for secrecy in fighting an epidemic," he said.

Although he praised Beijing for quickly sharing the DNA sequence of the virus, he attacked the lockdowns policy.

1 Response to “Coronavirus 'kills Chinese whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang'”

  • Greg (06/02/2020, 18:52) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    Do NOT allow any visitors from China in the BVI until it is all clear of this virus!


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