Wuhan Hospital Director Liu Zhiming Dies Of Coronavirus

Liu Zhiming – File Pic

BEIJING – A hospital director at the epicentre of China’s virus epidemic died on Tuesday, state media said, the latest medical worker to fall victim to the coro­navirus which has spread across the country.

The COVID-19 virus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan late last year, has spread to more than 72,000 people and killed 1,900 in China.

Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died on Tuesday morning after “all-out rescue efforts failed”, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

He is the first known hospital director to have died from the coro­navirus. At least six other medical workers have died from the virus, while 1,716 have been infected, ac­cording to official figures.

Liu’s death was initially reported by Chinese media and bloggers shortly after midnight on Tuesday — but the stories were later deleted and replaced with reports that doctors were still at­tempting to save him.

The hospital director’s death has echoes of the death of Wuhan ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who had been punished by au­thorities for sounding the alarm about the virus in late December.

Li’s death prompted a national outpouring of grief as well as anger against the authorities, who were accused of mishandling the crisis.

People took to social media once more to mourn Liu on Tues­day, with many users on the Twit­ter-like Weibo platform drawing comparisons between Liu’s death and Li’s, which was also initially reported by state media and then denied hours before being finally confirmed again.


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