Death of Dr. Li who first reported coronavirus received backlash on internet

Published 08 February 2020  |  
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Doctor who first reported the coronavirus in Wuhan, China died on February 6, at 9:30 pm, after he contracted the infection from a patient.

Thirty-four-year-old Wenliang Li is an ophthalmologist and had warned his colleagues about a virus that is similar to that of SARS.

When Li raised alarm about the virus last December, the police silenced him and kept the news internal for over 40 days. They accused him of spreading rumors that would disturb public order.

When the death news of Li broke the internet, it received backlash and people commenting on the incident called Li as an "everyday hero" who sacrificed himself to save others and in contrast called the authorities who silenced the news of the virus for over 40 days as "fat leaders" keen in retaining power and stability.

Though media outlets like the Global Times and the People's Daily announced the death of Li around 9:30 pm on February 6, the Chinese authorities intervened and canceled the news hours later saying that Li was only undergoing some special treatment.

According to doctors and journalists, the officials had forced everyone in the hospital to change their online posts and say that doctor Li was still alive. They delayed the news until 3 am, when the doctors finally announced the death of Li.

Some posts are criticizing the Chinese government and demanding freedom of expression and freedom of press in China.

At the same time, the situation in China is getting worse with about 637 deaths so far. Now there are about 31,211 infected cases and 26,369 suspected cases.

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