The fifth colleague of China’s coronavirus whistle-blower has reportedly died of the disease at a hospital in Wuhan.
Liu Li, an archive manager of Wuhan Central Hospital, lost his life to the killer bug today at the age of 45, according to a report.
Liu was a co-worker of Dr Li Wenliang, who first sounded the alarm of the coronavirus and was reprimanded by police for ‘spreading fake news’.
The report of Liu’s death comes after police in Wuhan police retracted the letter of oral punishment which they issued to 34-year-old Dr Li on January 3 and apologised to the public over the matter.
Dr Li Wenliang, who warned the public of the coronavirus, died of the highly contagious bug on February 7 after catching the disease from a patient at Wuhan Central Hospital. A memorial for Dr Li is pictured outside the UCLA campus in Westwood, California on February 15
The passing of Liu was reported by Chinese news outlet The Paper, citing multiple medical workers at Wuhan Central Hospital.
The report claimed that Liu was declared dead this morning by Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, a designated coronavirus hospital.
Liu’s wife is also a doctor and works at the department of liver, pancreas and gall bladder surgery at Wuhan Central Hospital, it is said.
Before Liu, four doctors from the hospital had lost their battle against the coronavirus.
Li Wenliang, 34, succumbed to the deadly contagion in the early hours of February 7 local time, despite attempts to resuscitate him. The medic (left) caught the public’s attention after he was reprimanded by police and accused of spreading ‘fake news’. Dr Zhu Heping (right), a colleague of Dr Li, was pronounced dead by a hospital in Wuhan on March 9 at the age of 66
Dr Jiang Xueqing (left) and Dr Mei Zhongming (right), who also worked for Wuhan Central Hospital, have lost their lives to the deadly disease. Dr Jiang, 56, specialised in treating diseases in the mammary gland and thyroid gland while Dr Mei, 57, worked with Dr Li Wenliang
Three of them, including Dr Li, were eye care professionals and the other specialised in breast and thyroid diseases.
They included ophthalmologists Dr Zhu Heping, 66, and Dr Meizhongming, 57, who died on March 9 and March 3, as well as Dr Jiang Xueqing, 56, who succumbed to the infection on March 1.
Dr Li, also an ophthalmologist, was the first of the five to pass away.
He was pronounced dead in the early hours of February 7 after testing positive on January 31.
Dr Li was reprimanded by police for sharing the information and made to sign a statement (left) agreeing not to commit any more ‘law-breaking actions’. His death caused an uproar in China
The deceased medic blew the whistle on the coronavirus outbreak in late December, around three weeks before the authority locked down Wuhan to stop the spread of the contagion.
He was reprimanded by police for sharing the information and made to sign a statement agreeing not to commit any more ‘law-breaking actions’.
A Chinese government investigation found yesterday that the police had acted ‘inappropriately’ in dealing with the case.
Dr Li’s death from the virus last month prompted an outpouring of grief as well as anger at the government’s handling of the crisis, and bold demands for freedom of speech.
People wearing masks at a vigil for Chinese doctor Li Wenliang in Hong Kong on February 7
The police issued an apology after the result of the probe was published, drawing further criticism on Twitter-like Weibo, with people saying it was too little, too late.
A central government investigation initiated after Dr Li’s death found that Wuhan police ‘acted inappropriately by issuing a disciplinary letter’ and took ‘irregular law enforcement procedures,’ state broadcaster CCTV reported today.
CCTV said investigators also found Dr Li’s colleagues had repeatedly attempted to resuscitate him before he was declared dead because he was ‘very young’.
State media said Dr Li’s colleagues told investigators, ‘as long as there was a bit of hope we were unwilling to give up, at the time there were no other factors.’
The central government investigators ‘suggest’ that Wuhan authorities ‘supervise and rectify the matter,’ and urged local police to revoke the disciplinary statement issued to Dr Li, according to CCTV.
A tram passes poster of Chinese doctor Li Wenlian in Prague, Czech Republic, on March 17
Wuhan police later said that the disciplinary statement had been ‘wrong’ and they were revoking it and that they ‘apologise to his family for the mistake’.
The deputy director of the Zhongnan Road police station was given a ‘demerit’ on his record and the officer on duty was handed an ‘administrative warning’, it added.
It is rare for Chinese authorities to admit such wrongdoing, but Beijing has sought to direct criticism over the mishandling of the virus outbreak onto provincial officials, with several of the region’s top Communist Party and health officials sacked.
Tens of thousands commented on the police’s Weibo post, with some saying it was not good enough.
‘Go and apologise in front of the person’s grave,’ said one user. Another wrote: ‘This apology has come too late, Wenliang can’t hear it.’