Chinese doctor Li Wenliang. Photograph:( Others )
Wuhan police also warned the doctor of rumour-mongering
Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old, on December 30 warned his friends of an outbreak on Chinese messaging app WeChat and advised them to wear protection.
Dr Li was working on a virus that looked similar to SARS, whose outbreak killed hundreds in 2003. Li, whose warnings of what later became coronavirus were tried to brush under the carpet, is now himself suffering from this deadly virus.
Four days after the warning, Chinese officials visited Li and asked him to sign a letter that accused him of "making false comments" and "severely" disturbing the "social order".
"We solemnly warn you: If you keep being stubborn, with such impertinence, and continue this illegal activity, you will be brought to justice - is that understood?" Li replied: "Yes, I do."
Wuhan police also warned him of rumour-mongering.
The local authorities later apologised to him but all that came late.
On January 10, Li explained in a Weibo post how he started coughing and was admitted to hospital for fever after a few days. He along with his parents underwent tests of coronavirus that all came out negative.
The doctor posted again on January 30: "Today nucleic acid testing came back with a positive result, the dust has settled, finally diagnosed." Immediately, thousands commented with words of support.
Li's diagnosis has triggered angry reactions from Chinese against the state for the initial denial of the virus and delay in issuing warnings to the public.