Colleague of China’s coronavirus whistle-blower Li Wenliang also dies of the deadly disease

Dr Mei Zhongming (pictured), 57, was declared dead on Tuesday after contracting the novel coronavirus through his work

A doctor in Wuhan who worked side by side with late heroic coronavirus whistle-blower Dr Li Wenliang has also died of the disease after contracting it while fighting the outbreak.

Dr Mei Zhongming, 57, was declared dead by Wuhan’s Jinyintan Hospital today at noon local time after ‘all-out rescue efforts failed’, said Wuhan Central Hospital where he worked.

Dr Mei worked in the same department as Dr Li, who was punished for sounding the alarm over the coronavirus outbreak before it spread and then died of the infection last month.

Dr Mei specialised in treating eye diseases and had worked in the department of ophthalmology at Wuhan Central Hospital since his graduation from university in 1986.

‘He was serious and responsible for his work, acted patiently and carefully with his patients and made important contributions to the construction and development of his discipline,’ the hospital said today in a statement published through its official account on Weibo, a messaging platform. 

‘We express sincere condolences to the passing of comrade Mei Zhongming of our hospital and extend deep sympathy to his family,’ it added.

The hospital did not explain when Dr Mei was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Dr Mei’s co-worker Dr Li, 34, died of the coronavirus on February 7 having contracted it from his patients.

Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, 34, confirmed on January 31 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 February 7 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 Hong Kong on February 7. The public have accused Dr Li’s hospital of trying to cover up truth

Dr Li 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’ on December 30.

Dr Li’s post came two weeks before coronavirus broke out in the city of 14 million which has been locked down since January 23.

His death was initially reported by Global Times on the evening of February 6 before the Chinese state newspaper deleted the post. Wuhan Central Hospital then claimed doctors were still trying to revive him.

The hospital pronounced his death in the wee hours the next day.

He left behind his wife who is pregnant, their five-year-old son and his elderly parents, according to media.

The medic’s death triggered an outpouring of anger from Chinese people who openly criticised their leaders for clamping down on the news.

The picture shows tributes paid by British residents to Dr Li Wenliang outside Kings College in Cambridge on February 26. His death triggered an outpouring of anger from Chinese people

The picture shows tributes paid by British residents to Dr Li Wenliang outside Kings College in Cambridge on February 26. His death triggered an outpouring of anger from Chinese people

A memorial is pictured outside the UCLA campus in Westwood, California on February 15

A memorial is pictured outside the UCLA campus in Westwood, California on February 15

‘How they dared to ‘pretend to be resuscitating him’! How they dared to ‘control’ the public opinions,’ one critic wrote on Twitter-like Weibo.

‘The god of death wanted him at midnight, but the organisation demanded him live until the early hours,’ another person seconded.

‘He wasn’t allowed to speak. He wasn’t even allowed to die,’ wrote one user of popular messaging app WeChat.

Dr Li’s family was paid £90,000 after Beijing ruled his death a ‘workplace injury’.

Both Dr Mei and Dr Li worked in the department of ophthalmology at Wuhan Central Hospital. A picture released by the hospital shows medical staff attending to coronavirus patient

Both Dr Mei and Dr Li worked in the department of ophthalmology at Wuhan Central Hospital. A picture released by the hospital shows medical staff attending to coronavirus patient

A picture released by Wuhan Central Hospital shows medical staff transferring a patient

A picture released by Wuhan Central Hospital shows medical staff transferring a patient

Medical workers at Wuhan Central Hospital are pictured wearing face shields while working

Medical workers at Wuhan Central Hospital are pictured wearing face shields while working

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement that it promised a thorough investigation into the issues surrounding Dr Li.

Outpourings of public grief and fury escalated 11 days later when Dr Liu Zhiming, the head of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, lost his life to the killer virus.

As in Dr Li’s case, reports of Dr Liu’s death were initially retracted by officials who claimed that he was still being resuscitated.

Dr Liu died of the disease at around 11am on February 18 after contracting it at work, health officials confirmed

He was the head of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital (pictured) at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak

Dr Liu, the head of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, died of the disease at around 11am on February 18 after catching it at work, health officials confirmed

Since the outbreak started last December, at least 26 Chinese medical workers who dedicated themselves to fighting the epidemic have died, including 13 of them who died after contracting the disease, according to Chinese news outlet Caixin.

Just two days ago, another doctor at the Wuhan Central Hospital died of the infection after being infected at work.

Dr Jiang Xueqing, 55, died in the wee hours on Sunday at Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital.

While last week a Chinese clinic’s deputy head dropped dead after fighting the deadly coronavirus on the front line for 33 days straight.

Dr Zhong Jinxing, 32, died of a heart attack in his dorm room in the wee hours of Friday. He left behind his wife and their six-year-old daughter.

Italians have been told to stand one metre away from each other in all public spaces in a bid to stop the spread. Pictured: a woman in Rome wears a mask

Italians have been told to stand one metre away from each other in all public spaces in a bid to stop coronavirus from spreading. A woman is pictured wearing a mask on a street of Rome

The death toll in Italy, Europe's worst affected country, jumped to 52 yesterday from 34 the day before. The picture shows pedestrians wearing face masks while walking on a street of Rome

The death toll in Italy, Europe’s worst affected country, jumped to 52 yesterday from 34 the day before. The picture shows pedestrians wearing face masks while walking on a street of Rome 

Originating in Wuhan, the new coronavirus – known as COVID-19 – has killed at least 2,944 people and infected more than 80,100 inside China.

The number of new virus cases dropped again in the country on Tuesday, with just 125 new cases after a six-week low of 202 a day earlier.

However, outbreaks outside of China have soared in the past week.

More than 70 nations are now battling the contagion, with South Korea, Italy, Japan and Iran among the worst-affected.

Italians have been told to stand one metre away from each other in all public spaces in a bid to stop coronavirus spreading.

Pope Francis has tested negative for coronavirus, after cancelling engagements and largely disappearing from public view last week after falling ill (pictured on Sunday)

Pope Francis has tested negative for coronavirus, after cancelling engagements and largely disappearing from public view last week after falling ill (pictured on Sunday)

Face masks have become an increasingly common sight on the streets of London as concern about a potential coronavirus outbreak rises. The picture shows a passenger wearing the protective equipment while using the underground transport system in London on March 2

Face masks have become an increasingly common sight on the streets of London as concern about a potential coronavirus outbreak rises. The picture shows a passenger wearing the protective equipment while using the underground transport system in London on March 2

Globally, the coronavirus has killed at least 3,117 people and infected more than 91,300

Globally, the coronavirus has killed at least 3,117 people and infected more than 91,300

The death toll in Italy, Europe’s worst affected country, jumped to 52 yesterday from 34 the day before and the total number of confirmed cases there climbed to 2,036.

The one-metre rule will also apply to pubs, shops and churches and is based on a study of how far saliva droplets can travel when they are released into the air as people talk, according to The Times.

Other measures by Italy’s health authorities include a ban on public gatherings and school closures in the north.

Nearby in France, the latest death was reported in the Oise department northeast of Paris, in the country’s most significant cluster.

With at least 191 cases, including 47 in the Oise, France is the second-worst affected country in Europe after Italy.

The Louvre in Paris shut its doors for a second day yesterday after staff walked out over health risks.

Ukraine today became the latest country to record a case of the killer virus.

Health officials revealed a man tested positive after catching the deadly infection in Italy and travelling to Chernivtsi via Romania.

Globally, the coronavirus has killed at least 3,117 people and infected more than 91,300.

The Pope tests negative for coronavirus

Pope Francis has tested negative for coronavirus after he was forced to cancel a series of engagements last week due to illness.

The 83-year-old pontiff was given a ‘routine’ test after falling ill on Ash Wednesday with symptoms of a cold including a cough, fever, chills and sore throat. 

He was given a swab test as a precaution but the results have come back negative, according to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero

Medics have not said what the Pope is suffering from, but he previously described it as ‘a cold’. 

Francis’s last full day of public engagements was on Ash Wednesday, when he appeared ill while taking part in an evening Mass.

He was seen coughing, sneezing and appeared tired during the ceremony, before cancelling an engagement the following morning.

He then disappeared from public view for the next four days while he recovered.