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COVID-19: Wuhan hospital director Liu Zhiming dies of coronavirus

Reuters, AFP
Filed on February 18, 2020
UAE coronavirus , coronavirus  in UAE, 2019-nCo, Wuhan coronavirus, India, Bihar, health, China, warning, travel, China virus, mers, sars, Wuhan, Coronavirus outbreak, tourists, Visa

At least six other medical workers have died from the virus, while 1,716 have been infected.

The head of a leading hospital in China's central city of Wuhan, the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak, died of the disease on Tuesday, state television said, becoming the second prominent Chinese doctor to have succumbed to the pathogen.

Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, died at 10:30am, it said.

(Coronavirus: Everything you need to know about the Covid-19 Wuhan virus outbreak)

Earlier this month, millions in China mourned the death of Li Wenliang, a doctor who was previously reprimanded for issuing an early warning about the coronavirus.

Tens of thousands of medical workers have been fighting to contain the spread of the coronavirus, believed to have first surfaced in a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of the central province of Hubei.

COVID-19: China reports 1,886 new cases, death toll crosses 1,800

As in the case of Li's death, there was confusion on the Chinese internet about Liu's condition on Monday night.

On Monday night, the Communist Party propaganda department of the Hubei Health Commission wrote in a social media post that Liu had died.

But it said in a subsequent post that Liu was alive.

"According to Liu's relative, the hospital is still trying its best to rescue him," the commission said in the second post, adding that the previous misinformation was from a good friend of Liu who was not aware of the latest situation.

It has not posted any message since state television announced Liu's death on Tuesday morning.

He is the first known hospital director to have died from the coronavirus.

At least six other medical workers have died from the virus, while 1,716 have been infected, according to official figures.

Li's death prompted a national outpouring of grief as well as anger against the authorities, who were accused of mishandling the crisis.

People took to social media once more to mourn Liu on Tuesday, with many users on the Twitter-like Weibo platform drawing comparisons between Liu's death and Li's, which was also initially reported by state media and then denied hours before being finally confirmed again.

Doctors in Wuhan face shortages of masks and protective bodysuits, with some even wearing makeshift hazmat suits and continuing to work despite showing respiratory symptoms, because of a lack of medical staff, health workers have told AFP.

Beijing was accused of covering up the full extent of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. In the current coronavirus outbreak, Beijing has called for transparency.

A senior Chinese health official said on Friday that 1,716 health workers have been infected by the coronavirus and six of them have died.


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