Doctor who helped sound alarm on coronavirus dies

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 7, 2020 - Duration: 01:35s

Doctor who helped sound alarm on coronavirus dies

One of the first Chinese doctors who tried to warn the world about a new coronavirus died on Friday from the illness, as China's Hubei province reported 69 new deaths, taking the total in China to over 600.

Jillian Kitchener has more.

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Doctor who helped sound alarm on coronavirus dies

One of the first Chinese doctors who tried to warn the world about a new coronavirus died on Friday (February 7) from the illness, a grim milestone for the fast-spreading outbreak.

34 year old Li Wenliang was an ophthalmologist at a hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city hardest hit by the outbreak.

He and seven others were reprimanded by Wuhan police last month for spreading "illegal and false" information about the coronavirus.

On Friday, China's Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, reported 69 new deaths, taking the death toll in China to over 600.

It also reported nearly 2,500 new cases... for a total of over 30,000 cases, according to state TV.

But the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said it was too early to claim the outbreak was peaking.

Dr. Michael Ryan: (SOUNDBITE) (English) WHO EMERGENCIES PROGRAMME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DR MICHAEL RYAN, SAYING: "There has been that constant increase in cases in Hubei province but we haven't seen that same acceleration in provinces outside Hubei... but as you said (Reuters reporter) Stephanie (Nebehay) and you are correct, there are cycles of transmission and we may see those cases increase in the coming days." Officials around the world are taking preventative measures to control the spread.

More than 3500 people moored off Japan on the Diamond Princess ship - which has 20 cases of the virus - faced testing and quarantine for at least two weeks.

In Hong Kong, another cruise ship with 3,600 passengers and crew was quarantined for a second day pending testing.

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