Coronavirus: Chinese media changes report, says whistleblower doctor critically ill
Chinese doctor, Li Wenliang
Chinese media have changed their reports that Chinese doctor, Li Wenliang, is dead.
The state-run media, Global Times, had earlier reported that Dr Li, who blew the whistle on the coronavirus outbreak had died of the infection, but later reported he was instead critically ill.
The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), had earlier sent out a tweet saying Dr Li’s death had sparked “national grief”.
Dr Li was declared dead at 21:30 local time (13:30 GMT) on Thursday. However, journalists and doctors at the scene, who do not want their names used, said government officials then intervened, the BBC reported.
Official media outlets were told to change their reports to say the doctor was still being treated.
Reports said the doctor was given a treatment known as ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation) which keeps a person’s heart pumping and keeps their blood oxygenated without it going through their lungs.
The coronavirus has now killed more than 560 people and infected 28,000 in China.
Li, a 34-year-old doctor working in Wuhan, raised the alarm about the virus on December 30, but was silenced by local police.
According to CNN, he was one of several medics targeted by police for trying to blow the whistle on the deadly virus in the early weeks of the outbreak, which has sickened more than 28,000 people and killed more than 560.
Li had posted in his medical school alumni group on the Chinese messaging app, WeChat, that seven patients from a local seafood market had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and were quarantined in his hospital.
Soon after he posted the message, Li was accused of rumor-mongering by the Wuhan police.
Local authorities later apologised to Dr Li, the BBC reported.