Doctor Summoned By Police After Coronavirus Warning Says He Has Now Been Infected
A doctor from Wuhan, China who was summoned by police and accused of 'spreading rumours' about the coronavirus before it became a pandemic says he has now been infected himself.
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.
The letter says that Li had 'severely disturbed the social order', despite the virus going on to kill more than 300 people at the time of writing.
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?"
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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."
His parents were also diagnosed with the virus and were diagnosed after developing similar flu-like symptoms.
On 1 January, police in Wuhan announced on Weibo they had summoned and punished eight people for scaremongering about the pneumonia patients in the city.
However, eight days later, on 9 January, the state broadcaster in China confirmed the mutated strain of coronavirus had caused the cases. This led police to restrict access to their original post.
With the new coronavirus spreading around the world, the Supreme People's Court in China - the highest authority in the country, criticised the police for their treatment of the doctors.
Police subsequently wrote on Weibo that the doctors had not been 'warned, fined or taken into custody', just 'educated and criticised'.
Featured Image Credit: Weibo