HealthDay News — The Chinese doctor who was silenced by authorities when he was one of the first to sound the alarm about the coronavirus has died from the virus, according to the hospital where he was being treated.
Li Wenliang died early Friday morning, according to the Wuhan City Central Hospital, The New York Times reported. “We deeply regret and mourn this,” the hospital said on the Chinese social media site Weibo.
In a Feb. 1 story, The Times described Li’s efforts to raise concerns about a cluster of illnesses that were similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which ravaged China and spread to other countries nearly two decades ago. The article also revealed Li’s summons by upset health officials. “If the officials had disclosed information about the epidemic earlier,” Li told The Times, “I think it would have been a lot better. There should be more openness and transparency.”
Li’s death is a sensitive issue for the Chinese government, according to The Times. As authorities struggle to deal with the epidemic, they have attempted to muffle widespread criticism that they mismanaged their response to the initial outbreak in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in Hubei Province. Censorship in China has increased in recent days following a flood of online criticism and stories by Chinese journalists exposing the mistakes that caused the government to underestimate the threat of the coronavirus, The Times reported.