BEIJING – Li Wenliang, a doctor in China who allegedly detailed a warning about the coronavirus before he himself was sickened by the illness, has dead, according to the hospital treating him.
There had been conflicting reports regarding him death, Earlier on Thursday, Wuhan Central Hospital made a post on social media just after midnight local time that he was in “critical condition.” Later, they have made an updated post announcing his death.
Li, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, claimed that in late December he expressed concerns via private chat with medical school graduates after several patients showed symptoms similar to SARS before he was visited and warned by authorities.
The BBC reported that Li was summoned to Public Security Bureau where he was forced to sign a letter stating that he made false comments about the virus. Authorities later apologized.
Soon after, he began coughing and developed a fever that landed him in the hospital for several days. On January 30, he tested positive for the virus.
Rumors of his death began moving quickly across social media and blogs in China on Thursday. It had not been determined if Li had any underlying health complications that may have impacted the severity of his illness. Hours before the hospital confirmed his death, the World Health Organization (WHO) had expressed sorry over his passing in response to a reporter’s question. A spokesperson later told Fox News that the agency did not have updated information about his current health status.
The uncommon virus has affected over 28,000 people and resulted in at least 563 deaths. About 99 percent of cases have occurred in mainland China, even though two deaths have been reported outside the country including in the Philippines and Hong Kong.