Coronavirus: Chinese media reports Head of Wuhan has died before official denies

Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital, died of the novel coronavirus today, according to Chinese media

Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital, died of the novel coronavirus today, according to Chinese media

The head of a Wuhan hospital at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak has died of the disease, health officials have confirmed. 

Dr Liu Zhiming died on Tuesday morning at the age of 51 after 'all-out rescue efforts failed', according to state broadcaster CCTV.  

The director of the Wuchang Hospital was hailed for his 'important contributions in the work of fighting and controlling novel coronavirus' but his death has sparked a fresh wave of anger just two weeks after another medic, whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang, succumbed to the virus.

As in Li's case, there was confusion over Liu's condition last night after local officials reported his death before later denying it and claiming that doctors were still trying to save him. 

State media and the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission both confirmed his death this morning.    

Many users on Chinese social media platform Weibo drew comparisons between Liu's death and that of Li Wenliang, who was reprimanded for trying to raise the alarm about the virus.

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. 

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

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

The news of Dr Liu's death was first reported by Chinese outlet Red Star News before a director from Hubei Provincial Health Commission denied the claims in a social media post. Dr Liu is the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, which is designated to treat coronavirus patients

The news of Dr Liu's death was first reported by Chinese outlet Red Star News before a director from Hubei Provincial Health Commission denied the claims in a social media post. Dr Liu is the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, which is designated to treat coronavirus patients

A director from Hubei Provincial Health Commission claimed Dr Liu was still being resuscitated after uploading a message to mourn the death of the hospital chief. In the photo above, a doctor checks on the conditions of a patient in Jinyintan Hospital on February 13

A director from Hubei Provincial Health Commission claimed Dr Liu was still being resuscitated after uploading a message to mourn the death of the hospital chief. In the photo above, a doctor checks on the conditions of a patient in Jinyintan Hospital on February 13

By last Friday, the novel coronavirus had killed six health workers and infected 1,700 medical staff in China, according to Beijing. Above, medical workers transfer a patient in the isolation wards for the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, at a hospital in Wuhan on February 6

By last Friday, the novel coronavirus had killed six health workers and infected 1,700 medical staff in China, according to Beijing. Above, medical workers transfer a patient in the isolation wards for the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, at a hospital in Wuhan on February 6

A Hubei health official retracted a previous social media post, claiming that the head of Wuchang Hospital Dr Liu Zhiming 'is still being resuscitated' after contracting coronavirus

A Hubei health official retracted a previous social media post, claiming that the head of Wuchang Hospital Dr Liu Zhiming 'is still being resuscitated' after contracting coronavirus

An official at the Hubei Provincial Health Commission first announced Dr Liu's death in a post on Weibo last night. 

Part of the post read: 'Mourn the first hospital director to have sacrificed himself.' 

Red Star News also spoke to an unnamed doctor at Wuchang Hospital, who told the newspaper that he was saddened by Dr Liu's passing.  

Another insider said Mr Liu had always been a healthy man and that he was surprised by the news of his death. 

Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, 34, confirmed on Saturday that he had caught the deadly disease while treating patients at a hospital in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak

He had been reprimanded by police after warning on social media of 'SARS at a Wuhan seafood market'

Li Wenliang, 34, succumbed to the deadly contagion in the early hours of Friday morning local time, despite attempts to resuscitate him. The ophthalmologist caught the public's attention after he was reprimanded by police and accused of spreading 'fake news' for warning on social media of 'SARS at a Wuhan seafood market'. His hospital initially denied reports of his death

Mourners pay their respect to deceased Chinese doctor Li Wenliang during a vigil ceremony in Hong Kong on February 7. The public have accused Dr Li's hospital of trying to cover up truth

Mourners pay their respect to deceased Chinese doctor Li Wenliang during a vigil ceremony in

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