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    Doctor who first warned others about coronavirus gets arrested, now infected

    It was on December 30, 2019, that 34-year-old doctor Li Wenliang from Wuhan, China, messaged his colleagues in a WeChat group that seven patients from a local seafood market have been diagnosed with an illness similar to the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV). SARS affected over 8,000 people in 26 countries during the outbreak.
    Doctor who first warned others about coronavirus gets arrested, now infected

    UPDATEChinese whistleblower doctor dies from coronavirus

    Seeing that the virus is highly contagious, Li told his colleagues to warn their families privately even as they investigated more about the disease. He explained that the pathogen involves a coronavirus, a large family of viruses that cause a range of respiratory diseases, including the common cold and SARS.

    Doctor who first warned others about coronavirus gets arrested, now infected

    While he told his colleagues to privately warn their families, screenshots of his message would soon go viral. Later on, he added a subsequent message stating that the virus appears to be a new coronavirus, never seen before. But his message had already gone so viral by then that the authorities stepped in.

    Doctor who first warned others about coronavirus gets arrested, now infected

    Doctor who first warned others about coronavirus gets arrested, now infected

    On January 3, Li was arrested for “spreading rumors online” and “severely disrupting social order”. Still, the doctor defended himself and said that the patients diagnosed with the condition underwent tests that gave positive results with a high “confidence coefficient”; this indicates accuracy.

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    The authorities refused to believe him and insisted that he was “severely disrupting social order” because of the “rumors” he is spreading. He was only allowed to leave the police station after he signed a statement admitting “illegal behavior”. Wuhan authorities had vowed to treat him and other “rumormongers” with “zero tolerance.

    The virus spreads, Li gets infected

    The virus would soon spread out of control. Thousands would be infected by the virus that the police first insisted were just “rumors” made by Li. Local officials would soon earn flak for trying to cover up the situation, leading to an outbreak that killed hundreds of people.

    SEE ALSO: DOH on full alert against mysterious disease from China

    “If society had at the time believed those ‘rumors,’ and wore masks, used disinfectant and avoided going to the wildlife market as if there were a SARS outbreak, perhaps it would’ve meant we could better control the coronavirus today,” said China’s Supreme Court.

    “For the late disclosure, I hope everyone can understand that this is an infectious disease, and relevant information has special channels to be disclosed in accordance with law,” admitted Mayor Zhou Xianwang, who offered to resign from his post.

    Sadly, Li was diagnosed with the “rumored” coronavirus in February after being in close contact with a patient he was treating at the hospital. He is now recovering at the quarantine ward.

    Doctor who first warned others about coronavirus gets arrested, now infected

    Images by via @xiaolwl

    — Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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