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World

Doctor police scolded for warning about coronavirus dies from it

Beijing / A doctor Chinese authorities reprimanded early January for warning about cases he found similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that eventually turned out to be a new strain of coronavirus, died Friday from the disease.

As confirmed on his official Weibo social media account by the Wuhan Central Hospital where he worked and was admitted days after contracting the virus, ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, 34, died early at 2.58 am local time Friday morning (18.58 GMT on Wednesday).

Some media had confirmed the death several hours earlier and the World Health Organization had posted on Twitter conveying its condolences, leading to confusion.

Chinese state press said Li had been receiving emergency treatment after suffering heart failure at 9.30 pm local time (13.30 GMT) Thursday.

Li and seven others were called Jan. 3 to Wuhan police stations for “spreading false information on the internet” after they had published data at the end of December on an alleged SARS re-emergence – a disease that left more than 600 dead between 2002 and 2003 – through seven cases detected in the city.

The doctor continued working until the 10th of that month, when he began to show symptoms of having contracted the coronavirus, although he did not confirm suspicions until February 1.

In an interview with private news portal Caixin after confirming he had been infected, Li said: “I think there should be more than one voice in a healthy society, and I do not welcome the use of public powers for excessive interference.”

“It is more important for people to know the truth, Justice does not matter so much to me,”, Li said when asked about whether he would seek legal action for having been reprimanded when he sounded the alarm.

State media had reported in early January about the police action against eight people who “spread rumors” in Wuhan when the crisis was still a small unknown pneumonia outbreak linked to a fish and seafood market – in which, it was later revealed, wild animals were sold illegally.

But in recent weeks it had changed its stance and complimented Li, as had the Supreme Court itself, which published an article saying it would have been fortunate if people had believed those “rumors,” started wearing masks, taking measures and avoiding the animal market.

“Looking back, we should praise them a lot. They were wise about the outbreak,” Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at the disease control center said recently.

The doctor’s death caused a stir on China’s social networks, where users voiced their pain and rage. Many demanded that authorities and Wuhan Police apologize for silencing what they considered rumors instead of avoiding what has become a global health crisis.

According to the portal “What’s on Weibo,” which specializes on the network, China censored the flood of messages about Li’s death, which used the “Can you take charge? Do you understand?” hashtag – Phrases Wuhan Police printed on the document Li was forced to sign in January.

The latest official data pins the number of deaths from the coronavirus in China at 636, while confirmed cases stand at more than 31,000.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba launched a “global supply platform” Friday with which it hopes to connect health supply providers with medical personnel fighting the coronavirus in the most affected areas.

The company said information would be obtained from hospitals and local authorities to detail what products are needed, and suppliers would be able to offer their products, which would be acquired by Alibaba and sent to medical centers depending on urgency and priority.

For this, It allocated a 1-billion-yuan budget ($ 143.5 million, 130.6 million euros) on Jan. 25.

The group says it had already delivered supplies from “15 countries and regions” – acquired by Alibaba or donated by other agencies and institutions – to 18 hospitals in three Chinese provinces, including the epicenter, Hubei.

Evacuation efforts of foreign nationals continued in China, as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro offered Thursday to help other countries repatriate people from Wuhan. Brazil sent two planes to transport 34 people who requested Bolsonaro’s help to return to the country and the leader said some pare seats were left in the aircraft.

Elsewhere, Japanese authorities confirmed Friday that 41 new cases had been detected on a cruise ship moored in the port of Yokohama city.

With these, the number of people who have been infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship rose to 61 – and provisionally raises the number of cases in Japan to 76.

Authorities quarantined the ship Monday and quarantined its 3,700 passengers for two weeks while the medical checkups take place. (February 7, 2020, EFE/Practica Español)

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Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas (Read the news and answer the questions)

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Question 1
Principalmente, el texto habla... (Mainly, the text talk about...)
A
del número de personas que fallecieron a causa del SARS a comienzos de este siglo.
B
del deceso de un médico que alertó de la existencia este coronavirus.
C
del balance de personas que han fallecido a causa de ese nuevo coronavirus.
Question 2
En el texto se dice que... (It's said in the text that...)
A
se desmiente que Li haya fallecido a causa del coronavirus de Wuhan.
B
Li estuvo trabajando en un hospital de Wuhan hasta principios de este mes.
C
Li fue amonestado por haber alertado de la existencia de una enfermedad parecida al SARS.
Question 3
Sobre Li se dice que... (About Li, it's said that...)
A
desmintió que él y otros médicos fueran amonestados por haber avisado de esa enfermedad.
B
estaba a favor de que se oculte la verdad a la gente sobre lo que está sucediendo.
C
afirmó que es muy importante que las personas sepan lo que está sucediendo.
Question 4
Según el texto... (According to the text...)
A
muchas personas pidieron a las autoridades chinas que se disculpen tras la muerte de Li.
B
la mayoría de la población comenzó a tomar precauciones en el momento en que Li alertó de esa nueva enfermedad.
C
actualmente hay millones de casos de este coronavirus solo en China.
Question 5
En el vídeo se dice que... (It's said in the video...)
A
miles de personas ya han sido dadas de alta en China.
B
se desmiente que haya aumentado el número de personas que han fallecido a causa de este coronavirus.
C
hay más de 20.000 infectados por el coronavirus de Wuhan.
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