Corona Virus Outbreak: Did China suppress information in December 2019?

The Death toll in Corona Virus hit China today rose to 600. The public anxiety is turning into unrest as there is no hope of the Virus letting up. The virus that originated in Wuhan has killed hundreds in China alone. Today it claimed the life of one of the man who first exposed the virus. Dr. Li Wnliang, an ophthalmologist by profession he had taken to the social media to expose the first appearance of nCoV. He along with eight doctors was punished for spreading “rumors”.

The 34 year old doctor had actually shared some information in a medical alumni group on December 30 th 2019. He had let out that seven cases of pneumonia were admitted in a hospital where the patients displayed SARS like virus symptoms. However he later clarified that the virus is being investigated to identify what it was.

The doctor was traced by the police and made to sign an agreement about not revealing anything more about the virus to anyone. By December 31 st Wuhan had to admit to 27 pneumonia cases caused by an unknown virus.

With the death of Dr.Li people are now angry and grieved. In the meanwhile, the discipline commission had stated that an inspection team will go to Wuhan for a comprehensive investigation into his death.

China has iron clad hands when it comes to rumors. The government has one of the most populated countries to govern and a mass panic will never make things easier.

The Supreme People’s court of China has also now criticized the Wuhan police for silencing the doctors before the outbreak became an epidemic. In an by a judge published on January 28 th he states that though the information about the SARS virus was wrong, not all the given details were wrong. A published excerpt of the same reads as “If the public listened to this ‘rumor’ at that time, and adopted measures such as wearing a mask, strict disinfection, and avoiding going to the wildlife market based on panic about SARS, this may have been a better way to prevent and control the new pneumonia … As long as the information is basically true, the publishers and disseminators are not intentionally malicious, and the behavior objectively has not caused serious harm, we should maintain a tolerant attitude towards such ‘false information.’