A doctor who was reportedly “reprimanded” alongside seven other whistleblowers at the start of the spread of the deadly Coronavirus has died, in spite of conflicting reports which caused confusion over the Doctor’s well-being, it has been revealed.
Dr Li Wenliang reportedly died from the virus–which has now infected and claimed lives outside of China–on Thursday in Wuhan, which is the epicenter of the disease and the entire city is currently quarantined.
The report emerged in a tweet from Global Times, which read: “#Breaking: Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, one of the eight whistleblowers who tried to warn other medics of the #coronavirus outbreak but were reprimanded by local police, dies of coronavirus on Thursday in Wuhan, the Global Times has learned.”
The tweet was deleted after conflicting reports suggested that the doctor had not died, but his health remained in critical condition.
It was later reported by The Guardian, after the media retracted initial reports on the patient’s death, that the hospital confirmed Dr Wenliang’s passing away.
Following the whistle-blowing, the doctor was one of eight who were reportedly reprimanded by local police after being accused of “rumor-mongering” and “severely disrupting social order” on January 3.
According to The Guardian, Dr Wenliang had sent a message back in December to a group chat of around 30 other medical professionals.
The was then called up to the Public Security Bureau where he was forced to sign a letter accusing of making “false comments.”
Dr Wenliang was also made to promise not to commit further “unlawful acts.”
CNN reported that Dr Wenliang had told the other medics on a ‘WeChat’ group that 7 patients who had been to a seafood market were suffering from SARS-like symptoms.
SARS, which claimed hundreds of lives, was also covered up by the Chinese government.
On February 1, Dr Wenliang tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Over 20,000 have tested positive for the deadly virus and over 500 have died in what has been a rapidly rising death toll.