Dr. Li Wenliang, the doctor who first warned of the dangers of the Coronavirus outbreak succumbed to the disease, Chinese media reported.
Dr. Li, who worked at Wuhan Central Hospital, sent a message to other medical professionals warning of the dangers of the disease on December 30, 2019. He warned of several patients who had developed symptoms reminiscent of the SARS virus and advised his fellow doctors to wear protective clothing such as face masks to avoid catching the virus.
Four days later Chinese police summoned him to the Public Security Bureau where he was forced to sign a letter in which he was accused of “making false comments” that had “severely disturbed the social order.”
In January, Dr. Li reported that he had begun ill. He later developed a fever and had to be hospitalized. He was diagnosed with the Coronavirus on January 30.
The Global Times announced Li had died in a tweet at around 10:40 p.m. local time Thursday, linking to a report that cited friends and doctors at Wuhan Central Hospital.
It deleted the post several hours later. Other Chinese media outlets also deleted their reports of his death, without explanation.
The World Health Organization released a message of condolence following the initial reports that Li was dead but later updated their statement to say they did not have any information about the doctor’s status.