Chinese doctor who warned of coronavirus early dies after contracting it

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A Chinese doctor who was one of the first to warn others about the spread of coronavirus has died after contracting the virus himself, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Thursday. 

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Li Wenliang,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, a top WHO official. 

“We all need to celebrate work that he did” on stopping the virus, Ryan added. 

Li posted about concerning signs of the new virus on an online chat group for fellow doctors at the end of December. He was then detained by the police and accused of spreading “rumors.” He was released on Jan. 3 after signing a document saying he committed “illegal acts,” The Washington Post reported

Later that month, he came down with the virus himself. 

His punishment for early warnings has drawn criticism for Chinese authorities who observers say could have acted faster and more transparently to stop the spread of the virus. 

The WHO said Thursday that there are now 28,060 confirmed cases of coronavirus in China, the center of the outbreak, with 564 deaths. 

Outside China, there are 225 cases in 24 countries, with one death, the WHO said. 

The WHO also said it is convening a “research and innovation forum” to coordinate research around the virus with scientists around the world on Feb. 11 and 12.


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