A Chinese doctor who was among the first to warn the world about a possible novel coronavirus outbreak died of the infection on Thursday, BBC reported.
Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor in Wuhan Central Hospital, had raised an alarm about the virus in December. In a post on a Chinese social media site, he said seven patients had been diagnosed with an illness similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, and quarantined in his hospital. SARS is a coronavirus that had emerged in China in 2002, and killed almost 800 people across the world.
Li urged his colleagues to wear protective clothing at work to avoid getting infected. However, four days after putting up the post, the local public security bureau accused him of “making false comments” that “severely disturbed the social order”.
He was one of eight medical professionals targeted by the police for trying to blow the whistle on the deadly virus, which has infected more than 28,000 people and killed 563 people. Local authorities later apologised to Li after criticism from the country’s Supreme Court.
The doctor reportedly got infected last month after treating a woman with glaucoma who was carrying the novel coronavirus, The Guardian reported. He had told The New York Times that the situation would have been lot better had officials disclosed information about the epidemic earlier.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said hundreds of experts would meet in the Swiss city of Geneva next week to set research and development priorities for coronavirus drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines.