Chinese state television has announced the death of Liu Zhiming, the director of a a leading hospital in Wuhan, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Liu, who passed away on Feb. 18, 2020, at 10:30am, was the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital.
Confusion over Liu's condition on Monday
On Monday (Feb. 17), the Communist Party propaganda department of the Hubei Health Commission wrote in a social media post that Liu had died.
The death was also reported by Chongqing news outlet Red Star News, which said that it had confirmed the news with several sources.
However, the post was taken down, with an update that Liu was fighting for his life and was being resuscitated.
"According to Liu’s relative, the hospital is still trying its best to rescue him," the commission said in the second post, adding that the previous misinformation was from a good friend of Liu who may not have been aware of the latest situation.
It has not posted any message since state television announced Liu’s death on Tuesday morning.
A senior Chinese health official said on Friday that 1,716 health workers have been infected by the coronavirus and six of them have died, Reuters reported.
Mixed reports on Liu’s situation compared to death of Li Wenliang
The backtracking in reporting on the director’s death has been compared to media coverage of the death of Li Wenliang, a doctor and whistleblower who attempted to warn about the virus before it was reported publicly.
Li was an ophthalmologist who worked in the Wuhan Central Hospital during the outbreak of Covid-19, who attempted to warn his colleagues of the burgeoning threat on social media.
He was disciplined by the authorities for spreading “fake news” online, but later contracted the virus himself while working at the hospital, passing away on Feb. 7, 2020.
State media initially reported that Li had died, but then Wuhan Central Hospital said he was still on life support — only to eventually confirm that he had passed away.
His death sparked a widespread outpouring of grief among Chinese social media users, and the mixed reports by the Chinese state media were called out by several Chinese netizens online.
Top image via People's Daily China/Twitter