This photo taken on February 16, 2020 shows medical staff members working at the isolation ward of the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. The death toll from the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic jumped to 1,770 in China after 105 more people died, the National Health Commission said February 17.
Hospital director at China virus epicenter dies
(Agence France-Presse) - February 18, 2020 - 4:16pm

PÉKIN, China — A hospital director at the epicentre of China's virus epidemic died Tuesday, state media said, the latest medical worker to fall victim to the new coronavirus spreading across the country.

The COVID-19 virus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan late last year, has infected more than 72,000 people and killed nearly 1,900.

Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died Tuesday morning after "all-out rescue efforts failed," state broadcaster CCTV reported.

China said last week that six medical workers had died from the virus, while 1,716 have been infected.

Liu's death was initially reported by Chinese media and bloggers shortly after midnight on Tuesday -- but the stories were later deleted and replaced with reports that doctors were still trying to save him.

After initial reports of his death were denied, the hospital told AFP on Tuesday morning that doctors were giving him life-saving treatment.

Liu's death has echoes of that of Wuhan ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who had been punished by authorities for sounding the alarm about the virus in late December.

Li's death prompted a national outpouring of grief as well as anger against the authorities, who were accused of mishandling the crisis.

People took to social media to mourn Liu on Tuesday, with many users on the Twitter-like Weibo platform drawing critical comparisons between Liu's death and Li's. 

In both cases their deaths were initially reported in state media posts -- later deleted -- and their deaths denied, before being finally confirmed again.

"Has everyone forgotten what happened to Li Wenliang? They forcefully attempted resuscitation after he died," one Weibo commenter wrote.

Another commenter said, Liu "already died last night, (but) some people are addicted to torturing corpses".

A hashtag about Liu's death had 29 million views by Tuesday afternoon.

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, health workers have told AFP.

Hubei province and its capital Wuhan have been the hardest hit by the virus, accounting for nearly 1,800 of the deaths from the virus so far.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 6, 2020 - 6:58pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

April 6, 2020 - 6:58pm

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 50,000 people in Europe, mostly in Italy, Spain, France and Britain, according to an AFP tally using official figures at 0945 GMT on Monday.

With a total of 50,209 deaths, Europe is the continent with the most COVID-19 fatalities, out of 675,580 declared cases. Hardest-hit Italy has 15,877 deaths and Spain 13,055.

France has reported 8,078 fatalities while Britain has 4,934. — AFP

April 6, 2020 - 4:53pm

The Philippines records an additional 414 cases of the new coronavirus, raising the national total to 3,660.

The Department of Health also confirms 11 COVID-19 patients died in the country, bringing the national toll to 163.

Nine new patients recovered from the virus, which brings the total number of recoveries to 73.

April 6, 2020 - 9:07am

More than 1,200 people have died of coronavirus complications in the United States in the past day, John Hopkins University says.

The Baltimore-based university, which has been keeping a running tally of global coronavirus numbers, says there are at least 337,072 confirmed infections in the US with 9,633 deaths. — AFP

April 6, 2020 - 8:37am

US President Donald Trump on Sunday says he is "hopeful and sure" Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hospitalized for further coronavirus tests after testing positive, would recover from COVID-19.

"He is a friend of mine, he is a great gentleman, a great leader. He was brought to the hospital today but I am hopeful and sure that he is going to be fine," Trump says at his White House briefing.

"He is a strong man, a strong person." — AFP

April 4, 2020 - 4:09pm

The Department of Health reports 76 more local cases of the coronavirus disease 2019, bringing the official tally to 3,094 from the previous count of 3,018.

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