One of the most senior doctors in Wuhan has died from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, with numbers for the outbreak continuing to grow. Currently, there have been more than 72,000 confirmed cases in China, and the death toll continues to increase, with the number currently standing at 1,873. According to a Bloomberg report on Time, the death of Liu Zhiming adds to the fatalities among healthcare workers as they combat the outbreak and treat patients.
The latest news comes after another doctor who worked in Wuhan, Li Wenliang, succumbed to the coronavirus after being accused of spreading fake news when he first raised concerns over the “Sars-like” virus. According to The Guardian, Dr Liu’s death was confirmed by Chinese state media, although there appeared to be some contradicting reports prior to that.
In the meantime, Chinese state authorities have implemented new house-to-house checks in Wuhan in an attempt to further contain the outbreak, with possibly infected patients required to undergo full checkups and tests. 10 quarantine centres will reportedly be setup across the city, along with 11,400 beds for patients—these temporary wards are set up in factories, industrial estates, and even transport centres.
These new developments come amidst criticism levelled at former officials that have been accused of covering up the early stages of the outbreak. As it is, two senior government officials in Hubei were recently sacked, while the death of whistle-blower Dr Li Wenliang led to a wave of criticism on social media over the treatment of Li.
The deaths of both Dr Li and Dr Liu brings the risks that health workers and other front-liners face as part of ongoing containment efforts. More than 1,700 healthcare professionals have been infected in China, with 6 deaths reportedly confirmed by the National Health Commission in China. The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has also expressed her gratitude towards front-liners involved in containment efforts, with the DPM visiting front-liners at airports and the Ministry of Health.
As of 10am today, these are the global numbers:
On the local front, we’re continuing to see the outbreak spread, with 22 confirmed cases now—however, there have been no confirmed deaths in Malaysia as of yet.