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Wuhan hospital chief dies of coronavirus; death toll climbs to 1,871, 72,500 infected

Medical staff prepares to treat passengers while the World Dream cruiser is docked at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, Hong Kong on Feb. 5, 2020. Hong Kong authorities are keeping 3,600 passengers and crew members under quarantine on the cruise ship World Dream after three previous travelers were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and escorted with ambulance. (Miguel Candela/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/TNS)

The director of a hospital in Wuhan died from the coronavirus on Tuesday morning as the death toll and the number of new infections from the outbreak continues to mount in China.

The death toll in China stood at 1,871 on Tuesday whereas more than 72,500 people are now infected with the covid-19 pathogen.

At least 11,741 are severely ill from the infection, which was first reported in Hubei’s capital city, Wuhan, in December.

The total number of infections in the province climbed to 59,989, out of which 1,789 lost their lives, and 7,862 patients recovered, health officials said on Tuesday.

Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital and a neurosurgeon, died Tuesday morning, state media reported.

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Details of how he contracted the infection wasn’t immediately known.

The hospital, located on Yangyuan Street in the city’s Wuchang district, is a high-level hospital and one of the seven hospitals designated for the treatment of coronavirus patients in Wuhan, state-backed China Daily newspaper said in a report on Liu’s death.

The fatality follows the death earlier this month of Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor in Wuhan who was reprimanded by the Wuhan police for trying to bring the mysterious illness — then yet to be identified as a coronavirus — to light.

Li’s death had triggered an outpouring of grief and anger on social media platforms in China, forcing the government to institute an enquiry into his sanctioning in January.

Liu’s death also comes in the backdrop of the biggest study conducted by Chinese experts on the outbreak, and which pointed out that at least 3017 medics across 422 hospitals dealing with covid-19 were infected by the disease by February 11.

China has mobilised doctors and nurses from across the country to help treat and care patients in Wuhan and Hubei as the virus spread and overwhelmed local hospitals.

Chinese medics working in Hubei and especially Wuhan have been working through a big shortage of medical supplies including protective clothing.

“Chinese authorities have rolled out a slew of measures to reward medical workers for their sacrifices and contributions in the ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus outbreak,” state news agency, Xinhua reported.

Frontline medics who are infected or die from the virus will be compensated through work-related injury insurance for their occupational injuries, Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, said last week.

New compensations announced this week said those medics who die fighting the virus will be declared as “martyrs”.

It has also been announced the children of frontline medics working in Hubei will be given an extra 10 marks at the senior high-school entrance examination.

Meanwhile, outside epicentre Hubei, the number of new cases has dropped for 14 consecutive days, health officials have said.

On Monday, a committee headed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that a “greater outbreak of the epidemic has been avoided through strengthened prevention and control measures,” adding that “a positive trend has emerged nationwide in curbing the epidemic”.

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© 2020 the Hindustan Times