Coronavirus: Hospital Director Dies in China’s Wuhan

Coronavirus: Hospital Director Dies in China’s Wuhan

A hospital director at the epicenter of China's virus epidemic died Tuesday. 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, diedTuesday morning after "all-out rescue efforts failed," statebroadcaster CCTV reported. He is the first known hospital director to have diedfrom the coronavirus.

At least six other medical workers have died from the virus, while 1,716 have been infected, according to official figures. Chinese medics are risking their lives to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Authorities said that 1,700 are infected, which accounts for almost 3.8 percent of all those infected in China.

Liu's death was initially reported by Chinese media andbloggers shortly after midnight on Tuesday – but the stories were later deletedand replaced with reports that doctors were still attempting to save him.

The hospital director's death has echoes of the death ofWuhan ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who had been punished by authorities forsounding the alarm about the virus in late December. Li's death prompted anational outpouring of grief as well as anger against the authorities, who wereaccused 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.

Doctors in Wuhan face shortages of masks and protective bodysuits, with some even wearing makeshift hazmat suits and continuing to work despite showing respiratory symptoms, because of a lack of medical staff, health workers have told.

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