Coronavirus: Chinese media confusion over doctor’s death

Chinese media have changed a report that a doctor who blew the whistle on the coronavirus outbreak has died of the infection.

The state-run Global Times said Li Wenliang had died in Wuhan but later reported he was instead critically ill.

The People’s Daily had earlier sent out a tweet saying Dr Li’s death had sparked “national grief”.

Dr Li warned fellow medics about the virus on 30 December but was told police to stop making “false comments”.

The coronavirus has now killed more than 560 people and infected 28,000 in China.

It causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed a dry cough. Most people infected are likely to fully recover – just as they would from a flu.

How did the confusion occur?

Global Times and other Chinese media initially sent out reports that Dr Li, 34, had died from coronavirus.

It was carried in other Chinese state media and picked up international news organisations. The World Health Organization sent out a tweet expressing sorrow at his death.

But Global Times then carried a report from Wuhan Central Hospital saying that Dr Li’s heart had stopped beating at 21:30 local time (13:30 GMT) and he was given resuscitation treatment. Dr Li was currently in a critical condition, it said.

The news of his death had triggered a huge wave of popular reaction on Weibo – China’s equivalent of Twitter.

Most of the coronavirus victims have been over the age of 60 or have suffered from other medical conditions, according to China’s health authorities. Dr Li’s medical history is not known.

 

Source: BBC

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