Virus : the death of the doctor whistleblower causes anger in China

Virus : la mort du médecin lanceur d’alerte provoque la colère en Chine

Beijing | The chinese doctor sanctioned for having sounded the alarm about the emergence of the new coronavirus had succumbed Friday to the epidemic, leading to a wave of wrath while the balance sheet continues to rise.

 • Read also: 636 deaths in China, shortage of protective equipment

Two weeks after the implementation of de-facto quarantine of Hubei, the province the centre of China, Wuhan is the capital city and where the viral pneumonia was reported, the epidemic has contaminated 31 of 161 persons in the continental part of this country, of which 636 are dead, according to the latest official toll.

In the rest of the world, more than 300 cases of contamination have been confirmed in some thirty States and territories, of which two were fatal, in Hong Kong and the Philippines. Hundreds of tourists present in the three ships are stranded in Asia after the virus had been detected on board.

While the track of a virus from bats seems to be confirmed, chinese scientists have announced that the pangolin, a small mammal, could be “intermediate host” who, to the last, transmitted the infectious agent to the human being.

Summoned by the police

The epidemic has especially taken a turn policy on Friday with the death in the night of the doctor Li Wenliang, a doctor from Wuhan, who had given the warning at the end of December after the emergence of the virus in the capital city of Hubei.

Like other people, he had been called in after his revelations by the police, who accused him of spreading rumours. He is now a figure of national hero in the face of local officials accused of hiding the beginnings of the epidemic.

“It is a hero who gave the alarm at the cost of his life”, writes one of his colleagues wuhanais on the online network Weibo.

“All those officials who grow fat with public money are lost in the snow”, is carried a user, in a comment promptly deleted by the censors. A sign that the anger is strong, and the hashtag “We demand the freedom of expression” has a place on the chinese internet, before being censored.

Dr. Li, aged only 34 years, died at the central hospital of this metropolis of 11 million inhabitants, cut off from the world since the 23rd of January. The eye doctor had contracted the disease while caring for a patient.

Shaken by popular anger, the central government announced the opening of an investigation into ” the circumstances surrounding dr. Li Wenliang, as they were reported by the masses “, and the dispatch of a team of corruption investigators.

Which is rare, the supreme Court had already reinstated at the end of January in an article eight whistleblowers, who had attempted to warn the population at the beginning of the epidemic.

Xi reassures Trump

The death of the young doctor, illustrates the chaotic situation in hospitals of Wuhan, overwhelmed by the influx of patients. A top provincial chief admitted Thursday that the medical staff lacked masks and suits to protect themselves from the virus.

The director general of the world health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Friday that the world was facing “a chronic lack of personal protective equipment”.

The death of doctor Li seemed to immerse the device of the plan in the stupor.

Public media such as national television CCTV, and the daily newspaper Global Times had first announced his death on Thursday evening, before removing the information of social networks.

The president Xi Jinping, who was able to appear relatively down since the beginning of the epidemic, said for his part Friday to his us counterpart, Donald Trump, on the phone, that his country was “fully capable” of defeating the coronavirus.

He also called on the United States to respond “reasonably” to the crisis, after the country has banned entry to its territory to foreigners passed through China, reported in the public media.

“We especially talked about the coronavirus (…) They work very hard, and I think they do a very professional job,” said Mr. Trump to the press in front of the White House.

Steamers in the harbor

Many States have increased the restrictions on the entry of people from China and you are advised against travel in this country.

Others continued the evacuation of their citizens from Wuhan. Canada was expected to accommodate in the day a plane repatriating nearly 180 of its nationals.

Situation scary : thousands of travellers and crew members are recorded on two cruise ships in Asia.

Off the coast of Japan, the Diamond Princess is held from Tuesday quarantined after confirmation of the 61 cases on board. An estimated 3,700 people are cloistered in their cabins.

In Hong Kong, some 3,600 people suffer a similar fate on the World Dream, including three former passenger tested positive.

And according to a press release of the japanese authorities, another ship, the Westerdam, was en route to Japan with at least one confirmed case on board.

Paralysis prolonged

In the past 24 hours, the death toll from the epidemic has increased from 73 deaths in mainland China, including 69 in Hubei. The authorities have counted 3.143 new cases of contamination.

The head of the unit of emerging diseases for the WHO, Maria Van Kerkhove, has ensured that 82% of the cases were considered minor, 15% severe and 3% to “critical”. Less than 2% of the cases were fatal, she added.

This mortality rate remains for the time being much lower than that of the SARS (severe acute respiratory Syndrome), who had caused the death of 774 people in the world in 2002-2003.

The chinese economy could be durably suffering because, in many provinces, most companies and factories will not resume their activity before the February 10, at best.

The auto giant nippon Toyota on Friday announced a new postponement of one week of the resumption of the production of its factories in China, which is now suspended until February 16th included.

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