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REPORT: Chinese Censors Jumped In To Suppress Online Messages Warning About Coronavirus Spread

Chris White on March 7, 2020

China reportedly began censoring information about coronavirus online as health officials started warning their family members and colleagues about the nature of the virus.

Government censors worked to suppress information about the virus as health professionals in China spread their concern on a Chinese app called WeChat, The Wall Street Journal noted in its report Friday. They even punished officials who discretely warned superiors before it became a pandemic.

“[C]oronavirus confirmed, and type being determined,” one official named Li Wenliang, a doctor at Wuhan Central hospital, said in a message on the app. He added “Don’t leak it. Tell your family and relatives to take care.”

Li eventually died in February after contacting the virus, according to TheWSJ. Li was distributing videos and information obtained from Ai Fen, who runs the emergency department at Wuhan Central hospital.

Hospital officials reportedly reprimanded Li shortly thereafter, forcing him to write a so-called self-criticism letter suggesting that the leak “has a negative impact” on the country’s health system’s ability to investigate the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is facing criticism about his administration’s ability to test American officials for the virus.

California is monitoring at least 8,400 people who might have come into contact with the virus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a news conference in February.

Newsom’s announcement came a day after a suspected case was reported to have been caused through “community spread,” making it one of the first reported cases of the virus spreading through the community from someone who was not traveled abroad.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans in February to prepare for the “expectation that this might be bad,” with Italy emerging as the focal point of the virus in Europe, while Iran and China seeks ways of fighting the spread as confirmed cases grow.

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