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He Warned About Illness, Was Silenced. Now He's Sick, Too

Chinese doctor Li Wenliang got an early warning from police
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2020 10:50 AM CST
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This handout photo taken and released by Malaysia's Ministry of Health shows health officials in protective suits at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia Tuesday. They were waiting for arrivals evacuated from China's Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.   (Muzzafar Kasim/Malaysia's Ministry of Health via AP)

(Newser) – One doctor's plight in China is drawing much attention amid the coronavirus scare. The reason? Li Wenliang issued a warning about the outbreak in its early stages on social media, then got silenced by police. Now he's suffering from the illness himself. Coverage:

  • The warning: Li is a 34-year ophthalmologist who works at a hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. On Dec. 30, he sent a message on WeChat to fellow medical professionals warning them that patients with a SARS-like illness were quarantined in his facility's emergency department. Mindful of the deadly 2002-2003 SARS pandemic, he urged his colleagues to be aware and take precautions while treating their own patients, reports the BBC.
  • The consequences: "I only wanted to remind my university classmates to be careful," he tells CNN. After screenshots of his warning went viral, however, Li was summoned for questioning by hospital officials and, days later, by the police, who accused him of "spreading rumors online."

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