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Whistleblower Dr. Li Wenliang dies of the illness

A Chinese doctor who was reprimanded by security police for warning fellow doctors about the initial coronavirus outbreak has died of the illness, according to Wuhan Central Hospital.

Li Wenliang, 34, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, was “unfortunately infected during the fight against the pneumonia epidemic of the new coronavirus infection,” the hospital said on its social media account. “We deeply regret and mourn this.”

He died early Friday despite an “all-effort rescue” after contracting the virus Jan. 30, according to The People’s Daily, the newspaper of China’s Communist Party.

The World Health Organization tweeted, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr Li Wenliang. We all need to celebrate work that he did” on the virus.

In a posting on social media, Li alerted fellow doctors Dec. 30 about the emergence of a SARS-like illness, warning them to wear protective clothing to avoid infection, the newspaper said. Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus that has claimed 636 lives among more than 30,877 cases. The fatality rate is 2.1 percent; that compares to 9.6 percent for the SARS virus that created similar concern around the globe in 2002.

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