Chinese doctor who sounded coronavirus alarm dies from virus | Daily News


 

Chinese doctor who sounded coronavirus alarm dies from virus

Medical workers in protective suits attend to patients at the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center, which has been converted into a makeshift hospital to receive patients with mild symptoms caused by the novel coronavirus.
Medical workers in protective suits attend to patients at the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center, which has been converted into a makeshift hospital to receive patients with mild symptoms caused by the novel coronavirus.

CHINA: A Chinese doctor, among the first to raise the alert about China's new coronavirus, himself died from the pathogen on Friday,emphasizing the depth of a worsening crisis that has killed at least 630 people.

Global panic also spread, with thousands trapped on quarantined cruise ships.

Ophthalmologist Li Wenliang died at 2:58 am, Wuhan Central Hospital said in a post on its verified account on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

The 34-year-old sent out a message about the new coronavirus to colleagues on December 30, but was later among eight whistleblowers summoned by police for “rumour-mongering.” He later contracted the disease while treating a patient and has been hailed as a hero by Chinese internet users.

Li was among more than 28,000 people who have been infected in China, where authorities are struggling to contain the outbreak, despite ordering millions indoors in a growing number of cities.

Two dozen countries have confirmed cases of the respiratory disease, which emerged from a market selling exotic animals in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. In Hong Kong, 3,600 people spent a second night confined aboard the World Dream. Authorities conducted health checks after eight former passengers tested positive for the virus.

Hong Kong has been particularly nervous because the crisis revived memories of another coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). It killed nearly 300 people in the city and another 349 on the Chinese mainland in 2002-2003.

Panic buying in semi-autonomous Hong Kong left supermarkets empty of toilet paper following false online claims of shortages, prompting authorities to appeal for calm.

One person has died after contracting the virus in Hong Kong. Chinese President Xi Jinping told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a call that all countries should “follow World Health Organization guidelines on travel and health in a timely manner”, state news agency Xinhua reported. But deaths and new infections continue to rise, especially at the epicentre in Hubei province, where 18 cities housing 56 million people have been under virtual lockdown since late last month.

There is a shortage of 2,250 medical personnel in Hubei, deputy provincial governor Yang Yunyan said Thursday. The inability to offer health workers adequate protective gear is hindering the numbers that can be deployed on the front lines, he added.

With Hubei's capital Wuhan overwhelmed, authorities were due to open a second, 1,600-bed field hospital.

The central government has announced measures intended to ensure the supply of vital resources, with tax breaks for manufacturers of medical equipment.

BGI Group, a genome sequencing company in southern China, said it had opened a lab in Wuhan able to test 10,000 people a day. - AFP


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