Official says head of Wuhan hospital is still being rescued after Chinese media said he had died of coronavirus

Monday, February 17, 2020
By Paul Martin

Wuhan health official claimed Liu Zhiming of Wuchang Hospital died today
The spokesperson then said the hospital director was still ‘being resuscitated’
The same situation happened to Dr Li Wenliang, a whistle-blower of the virus
Web users accused authorities of covering up Dr Li’s death to avoid criticism
Last Friday, a 59-year-old nurse from Wuchang Hospital died of the disease
COVID-19 has claimed at least 1,775 lives and infected more than 71,440 globally

By TRACY YOU
DAILYMAIL.COM
17 February 2020

A Wuhan health official said the head of the city’s Wuchang Hospital was still being rescued after media reported he had died of the novel coronavirus.

Dr Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital, is the first hospital leader to have ‘sacrificed’ himself in the fight against coronavirus, reported Red Star News.

The news comes after a 59-year-old nurse in the same hospital lost her life to the virus last Friday.

Red Star News, a news outlet based in Chongqing, said it had confirmed the news from multiple sources.

One doctor at Wuchang Hospital told the newspaper that he was saddened by Dr Liu’s passing.

Another insider said Mr Liu had always been a healthy man and that he was surprised by the news of his death.

The hospital is yet to comment on the report.

Last week, Liu Fan, a nurse at Wuchang Hospital, died of the coronavirus after contracting the disease at work.

Online accounts suggested that Ms Liu was infected with the disease after failing to get a hazmat suit due to the shortage of medical supplies in Wuhan.

The hospital denied the allegations, adding that the 59-year-old was working in the injection room of a neighbourhood clinic, not on the front line.

In a statement, Wuchang Hospital said it had tried its best to resuscitate Ms Liu, but she died at 6:30pm on Friday.

‘To lose such a good nurse, we are deeply distressed,’ it said.

The hospital claimed that it had urged all medical workers to protect themselves during work.

It continued: ‘All neighbourhood clinics need to enforce personal preventative measures according to requirement.

‘In this battle, the virus is cruel. We express our deepest condolences for comrade Liu Fan’s passing.

‘We sincerely hope all medical workers remain healthy and will return safe and sound after the battle.’

Those who die of the COVID-19 virus after contracting it on line of duty should be named martyrs, Chinese authorities urged today.

Their family members should receive financial compensation and enjoy priorities in various policies, the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission said.

Before Dr Liu, the most high-profile medical worker who lost his life to the coronavirus was Dr Li Wenliang, who worked at Wuhan Central Hospital.

The ophthalmologist caught the public’s attention after he was reprimanded by police and accused of spreading ‘fake news’ for warning on social media of ‘SARS at a Wuhan seafood market’ on December 30. Li’s post came two weeks before coronavirus broke out in the city of 14 million which has been locked down since January 20.

He died in the early hours of February 7, his hospital said.

His passing caused an uproar among the Chinese public, who took to the social media to vent their anger towards the government before their posts were quickly censored.

‘He wasn’t allowed to speak. He wasn’t even allowed to die,’ wrote one person on popular messaging app WeChat as she commented on a circulating notice which apparently instructed all media outlets to suppress the coverage of the passing of Dr Li Wenliang.

‘Dr Li Wenliang was only allowed to ‘die’ after most web users had gone to bed,’ condemned another person on Twitter-like Weibo, claiming that Dr Li’s hospital was quick to deny relevant reports and declared the medic’s death in the wee hours.

Dr Li’s family was paid £90,000 after Beijing ruled his death a ‘work place injury’ following outpourings of grief and fury online for the whistle-blower.

Nearly 1,800 people across the world have now died from the killer coronavirus that is rapidly sweeping the planet.

And more than 71,430 have caught the virus, formally known as COVID-19, including 454 on a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan.

Ninety-five per cent of the 2,000 new cases recorded yesterday were diagnosed in Hubei, the deserted Chinese province at the centre of the crisis.

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