New Delhi: A hospital director at the epicentre of China’s virus epidemic has become the latest victim of the coronavirus.
Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, succumbed to the infection caused by COVID-19 virus on Tuesday morning. His death has been confirmed by the state broadcaster CCTV.
So far, more than 1900 people have been killed by the COVID-19 virus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan late last year.
Liu Zhiming’s death becomes the first known hospital director to have died from the coronavirus. Before his death, only few medical workers had died from the virus.
His death was reported by Chinese media and bloggers shortly after midnight on Tuesday. But, the authority tried to suppress the news, and tried to replace the news 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 had shocked many people, and they are openly expressing their anger against the authorities. Authorities are trying very hard to control the damage caused by their 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.