Chinese doctor who sounded alarm on new coronavirus has died: reports

Click to play video: 'Doctor who helped sound alarm on coronavirus dies' Doctor who helped sound alarm on coronavirus dies
WATCH: One of the first Chinese doctors who tried to warn about the new coronavirus died on Friday from the illness, as China's Hubei province reported 69 new deaths, taking the total to over 600 across the country. – Feb 7, 2020

A Chinese doctor who warned authorities in Wuhan about an emerging new coronavirus has died, according to a hospital in Wuhan, after conflicting reports about his health.

READ MORE: 2 Canadians test positive for coronavirus on cruise ship quarantined in Japan

The Wuhan Central Hospital said on its social media account that Dr. Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, was “unfortunately infected during the fight against the pneumonia epidemic of the new coronavirus infection.”

“We deeply regret and mourn this,” it added.

The hospital’s social media post received nearly 500,000 comments in the first half-hour afterward, with many people hoping Li would pull through. One wrote: “We are not going to bed, we are here waiting for a miracle.”

Li, a doctor working in Wuhan, had posted online in late December about a number of cases of pneumonia that appeared to be linked to a local seafood market, CNN reported. He was later reprimanded by local authorities for spreading rumours.

Story continues below advertisement

The Chinese state-run news outlet Global Times had initially reported that Li had died, but a few hours later said that he was alive and in critical condition in hospital. It later said that Li had, in fact, died.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Story continues below advertisement

On Thursday, after the initial reports of Li’s death, the World Health Organization tweeted its condolences, saying “we all need to celebrate” the work he did on the novel coronavirus.

As of Thursday morning, there were more than 28,000 cases of the novel coronavirus in China, with 563 deaths, according to WHO officials. There have been two deaths outside mainland China: one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

— with files from the Associated Press

Sponsored content