News about the coronavirus in China: The coronavirus kills the Chinese doctor ‘hero’ who sounded alarmed when the number of victims passes 630 | World News
Li Wenliang, 34, died early in the morning at the hospital where he worked and first gave the alarm about the new coronavirus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, hospital officials said.
An ophthalmologist, Li was one of eight people reprimanded by Wuhan police last month for spreading “illegal and false” information about the coronavirus, a flu-like pathogen that has since caused a global health emergency.
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His messages to a group of doctors on Chinese social networks warning about a new coronavirus “similar to SARS,” a reference to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed nearly 800 people worldwide in 2002-2003, triggered the Wrath of Wuhan police. China was accused of trying to cover up the SARS.
He was forced to sign a letter on January 3 saying he had “severely disrupted the social order” and was threatened with criminal charges.
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, had previously tried to assure its citizens and the world that China would defeat the coronavirus.
“The whole country has responded with all its strength to respond with the most comprehensive and stringent prevention and control measures, starting a people’s war for the prevention and control of epidemics,” the Xinhua news agency said.
Many Chinese people on social networks described Li as a hero and a tragic figure, accusing local authorities of incompetence in the early stages of the outbreak that has now claimed more than 400 lives in Wuhan and forced the city to close the door.
“We deeply regret the death of Wuhan’s doctor, Li Wenliang … After a rescue of all efforts, Li passed away at 2:58 in the morning on February 7,” the People’s Daily ruler of the Communist Party tweeted.
Some Chinese media outlets described him as a “hero who was willing to tell the truth,” while other commentators published poems, photos and drawings that greeted him.
“Light a candle and pay tribute to the hero,” one person posted on the Weibo social media platform. “You were the ray of light at night.”
On Friday, the Chinese province of Hubei, where Wuhan is located, reported 69 new deaths, bringing the total in China to more than 600. He also reported about 2,500 new cases, bringing the total in China to more than 30,000, according to television state. The figures for the whole of mainland China were expected to follow shortly.
The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in mainland China reached 636 on Friday with 73 more deaths recorded the previous day and 3,143 new infections confirmed, bringing the total so far to 31,161 cases, the National Health Commission said.
Two deaths were reported outside China, in Hong Kong and the Philippines, but uncertainty about the lethality and spread of the virus has led countries to quarantine hundreds of people and reduce travel to and from China.
The virus continued to spread throughout the world, with 41 new cases reported among some 3,700 people in quarantine on a cruise ship docked in Japan, bringing the total to 61 cases on board.
In Hong Kong, another cruise ship with 3,600 passengers and crew was quarantined for the third day with three cases on board. Taiwan, which has 13 cases, banned the berthing of international cruises.
In China, the world’s second largest economy, cities have been closed, flights canceled and factories closed, cutting off crucial supply lines for international companies.
The anxiety about the virus and its consequences returned to the financial markets on Friday, with stock market indices in China, Hong Kong and throughout Asia falling after several days of gains. Investors are analyzing the Chinese trade figures that are expected during the morning to get an idea of how the virus and the severe measures to contain it are affecting the flow of goods.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was too early to say that the outbreak was reaching its peak.
A Chinese official said the crisis could be reaching its peak, with slightly more than 1,300 patients discharged from hospitals, although the number of new patients diagnosed with coronavirus continued to increase.
“I have full confidence that we will get ahead,” said the official. “The biggest challenge is still controlling the spread of the disease and letting all suspected patients heal in the hospital.”