Chinese doctor who issued early warning on coronavirus dies

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Beijing – A doctor who became a hero in China after sounding the alarm early on about a coronavirus outbreak has died of the disease, the Wuhan where he was being treated, said on Friday.

Li Wenliang, a 33-year-old ophthalmologist at a in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, triggered an outpour of on as he was fighting the disease that has so far killed more than 600 people and infected tens of thousands.

Li had told state media that he had been reprimanded by management and party officials after alerting his colleagues about a cluster of infections tied to an animal in the of Wuhan.

Li initially thought the disease was a resurgence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (), an illness that killed hundreds across China in 2002-2003.

He became a symbol of people’s attempts to find answers about authorities’ initial reactions to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Wuhan government has been criticised for what many saw as a failure to disclose in a timely manner the severity of the illness, leading to possibly more infections among staff and the public.

A total of 31,161 infections and 636 the coronavirus were reported across China as of Thursday, according to the Commission.

The disease has also spread to more than two dozen countries around the world.