Coronavirus Whistle-Blower Dies From The Disease
A doctor who was one of the first people to alert the public about the risk of the new coronavirus epidemic has died from the disease after catching it from a patient he was treating.
Chinese state media has reported that Dr Li Wenliang died today after he confirmed that he had the infection on Saturday.
The 34-year-old doctor from Wuhan, China made the news when he was summoned by police after being accused of 'spreading rumours' about the coronavirus before it became a pandemic. The disease has so far gone on to claim the lives of 566 people.
At the end of December, Li Wenliang wrote in a group chat with his medical student friends that he had examined a patient with a similar condition to SARS, which is also caused by a coronavirus and was responsible for the deaths of 774 people during an outbreak in 2003.
When Wenliang shared the news, he wrote: "Seven cases of SARS confirmed."
In a post on Chinese social media site Weibo, he explained that police then contacted him. In the post, as translated by Sixth Tone, he wrote: "After I sent the message, the police found me and made me sign an official letter of criticism."
Li, who works at one of the main medical centres that deals with patients at the virus' 'ground zero', included a photo of the letter sent to him by police on 3 January.
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The letter says that Li had 'severely disturbed the social order', despite the virus going on to kill more than 500 people.
It reads: "The police hope that you can actively cooperate with us, heed our advice, and stop your illegal behaviour. Can you do this?" To which Li responds, in writing: "Yes, I can."
The letter continues: "We hope you can calm down and reflect on your behaviour. We solemnly warn you: If you keep being stubborn, with such impertinence, and continue this illegal activity, you will be brought to justice - is that understood?"
Again, Li answers: "Yes, I do."
You can then see his signature and fingerprint appear at the bottom of the document.
Li's workplace, Wuhan Central Hospital, has been one of the official medical centres designated to treat patients suffering with the virus.
In a further post on Saturday morning, he confirmed he too had been diagnosed with the virus, writing: "Today's nucleic acid (novel coronavirus) test came back positive. Everything is settled now - it's finally confirmed."
Featured Image Credit: Weibo