The death of a young doctor who was reprimanded for warning about China’s new virus triggered an outpouring yesterday of praise for him.
The 34-year-old ophthalmologist died overnight at Wuhan Central Hospital where he worked and likely contracted the virus while treating patients in the early days of the outbreak.“A hero who released information about Wuhan’s epidemic in the early stage, Dr Li Wenliang is immortal,” the China Center for Disease Control’s chief scientist, Zeng Guang, wrote on the Sina Weibo microblog service.
Weibo users have left hundreds of thousands of messages below Li’s last post.
A post by one of Li’s co-workers, an emergency room nurse, said the freezing Wuhan weather was “as gloomy as my mood”.
“To you, we are angels and so strong. But how strong a heart can watch the people around me fall one by one without being shocked?” wrote Li Mengping on her verified account.
On the streets of Beijing, the capital, residents expressed sadness and said that China should learn from Li “He is such a nice person, but still didn’t pull through,” said Ning Yanqing. “Those left did not want to speak out too much. Alas, I don’t know what to say.”
As people around continued to reflect on Li:
“He showed a responsible attitude toward the society,” said Cai Lin, a Beijing resident. “He is honest and faithful. So I think the whole society should reflect on this.”
The World Health Organization, which has complimented China’s response to the outbreak, said in a tweet that “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr Li Wenliang. We all need to celebrate work that he did on the virus.”The Chinese ambassador to Washington, Cui Tiankai, said on Twitter,“Really saddened by the death of Dr Li Wenliang. He was a very devoted doctor. We are so grateful to him for what he has done in our joint efforts fighting against #2019nCoV.”