BEIJING – A Chinese doctor who tried to issue the first warning about the deadly coronavirus outbreak has died, the hospital treating him has said.
Li Wenliang contracted the virus while working at Wuhan Central Hospital.
He had sent out a warning to fellow medics on 30 December but police told him to stop “making false comments”.
There had been contradictory reports about his death, but the People’s Daily now says he died at 02:58 on Friday (18:58 GMT Thursday).
The virus has killed 636 people and infected 31,161 in mainland China, the National Health Commission’s latest figures show.
The death toll includes 73 new deaths reported on Thursday.
The virus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.
Most people infected are likely to fully recover – just as they would from a flu.
Dr Li, an ophthalmologist, posted his story on Weibo from a hospital bed a month after sending out his initial warning.
The 34-year-old had noticed seven cases of a virus that he thought looked like Sars – the virus that led to a global epidemic in 2003.
On 30 December he sent a message to fellow doctors in a chat group warning them to wear protective clothing to avoid infection.
Four days later he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau where he was told to sign a letter. In the letter he was accused of “making false comments” that had “severely disturbed the social order”.
He was one of eight people who police said were being investigated for “spreading rumours” Local authorities later apologised to Dr Li.
In his Weibo post he describes how on 10 January he started coughing, the next day he had a fever and two days later he was in hospital. He was diagnosed with the coronavirus on 30 January.
This story is courtesy of BBC