A Chinese doctor who tried to issue the first warnings to the world about coronavirus has died after contracting the illness, according to multiple reports.
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Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor working in Wuhan, was the whistleblower on novel coronavirus and first sent out a warning to fellow medics on 30 December.
After he noticed seven cases of a virus that he thought looked like Sars - the virus that led to a global epidemic in 2003 - he sent a message to doctors in a chat group warning them to wear protective clothing to avoid infection.
However he was soon accused of rumour-mongering and police told him to stop "making false comments".
While there was early confusion surrounding Li Wenliang's death after it was reported that he had died of the disease and then reports of his death were retracted, the hospital has now confirmed he has died.
China's newspaper the People's Daily has also confirmed the news, and stated he died at 02:58 on Friday, local time.
He was reportedly hospitalised on January 12 after contracted the virus from one of his patients, and he was confirmed to have the coronavirus on February 1.
On Thursday an official for the World Health Organization expressed sadness at news of Li’s death.
“We are very sad to hear the loss of Li Wenliang,” Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director for the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies program, said when asked about the doctor’s death during a daily coronavirus press briefing in Geneva.
“We should celebrate his life and mourn his death along with colleagues,” Ryan added.
Dr Li Wenliang tried to warn the world about coronavirus in December 2019
At the time of publishing, the virus has killed 636 people and infected 31,161 in mainland China.