A doctor who was accused of "spreading rumors" about coronavirus when the outbreak began has died in a Wuhan hospital. Li Wenliang was among the first to identify the disease that has now killed over 500 people.
A whistle-blowing Chinese doctor who was among the first to identify the deadly new coronavirus died of the disease in Wuhan on Friday.
Li Wenliang was reprimanded by the police for "spreading rumors" about the coronavirus in December. He was among eight medical professionals who were accused of spreading "illegal and false information" about the virus.
The Wuhan hospital where Li was being treated announced his death at 2.58 a.m. on Friday morning after false information leaked that he died earlier in the evening. The World Health Organization tweeted condolences.
The virus has infected more than 28,200 people globally, with over 500 dead in China.
Died in his own hospital
Li, who was 34, had told a group of doctors on Chinese social media and messaging platform WeChat on December 30 that seven cases of a disease similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) had been confirmed. They were linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, believed to be the source of the virus.
He was asked to sign a letter as a promise to stop spreading information about the virus.
Li wrote on social media that he had tested positive for the virus on February 1. He was treated in the hospital where he worked as an opthalmologist.ed/rc (Reuters, AP)