Death of doctor who sounded coronavirus alarm sparks anger at government

A makeshift memorial for Li Wenliang, a doctor who issued an early warning about the coronavirus outbreak before it was officially recognized, is seen after Li died of the virus, at an entrance to the Central Hospital of Wuhan in Hubei province, China February 7, 2020. REUTERS/Stringer

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A Chinese doctor who was reprimanded for warning against a “SARS-like” coronavirus before it was officially recognised died of the virus, triggering a wave of mourning in China and rare online expressions of anger towards the government.

The death of Li Wenliang, 34, came as Chinese President Xi Jinping assured the United States that China was doing all it could to contain the virus.

Some media described Li as a hero “willing to speak the truth” but there were signs that discussion of his death was being censored. He was forced to sign a letter on Jan. 3, saying he had “severely disrupted social order” and was threatened with charges.

The death toll in mainland China reached 637 on Friday, with a total to 31,211 cases, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva.

U.S. President Donald Trump, after speaking to Xi by phone, said China was showing “great discipline” in tackling the virus.

“Nothing is easy, but he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker and then gone,” Trump said on Twitter. “We are working closely with China to help!”