Coronavirus: Wuhan whistle-blower’s hospital replaces party chief

29-Aug-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 11:04 AM Print This Post

The Communist Party chief at the Wuhan hospital where whistle-blowing doctor Li Wenliang worked will leave her post following a leadership shake-up.

Lung disease expert Wang Weihua, 53, will replace Cai Li as the Communist Party Secretary for Wuhan Central Hospital, state media reported on Friday.

Cai, 58, had been at the helm of the hospital since July 2017. The announcement did not say what her next job would be or if she would retire.

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A staff member at the hospital’s publicity department refused to comment on Cai’s departure on Friday. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission could not be reached for comment.

Wuhan Central Hospital was at the forefront of the battle of Covid-19, but also found itself in the spotlight after Li was reprimanded by the hospital management and police for warning friends about the emergence of the disease.

His death from the disease triggered a storm of public outrage.

In March, the 34-year-old ophthalmologist was exonerated and named a “martyr” by the authorities. His widow gave birth to his second son in June.

Four other doctors at the hospital also died from the disease and more than 230 staff members were infected  one of the highest tolls at any Wuhan hospital.

In the early stage of the outbreak, its staff were warned not to discuss the disease publicly and not allowed to wear protective clothing if they were not on duty at the intensive care unit for fear that doing so would spread panic.

A shortage of protective gear and slow implementation of preventive measures at Wuhan Central were also reasons behind its high infection rate.

While Cai has been criticised for her handling of the disease, the announcement on Thursday only said she was “no longer” the party secretary. In 2017 she was given an honour for “outstanding performance”.

The authorities in Hubei province have disciplined dozens of medical workers for dereliction of duties and poor performance during the pandemic, including a health director in Huanguang city who was unable to answer basic questions about the outbreak in January and a Red Cross official who messed up the distribution of medical supplies.

Wang was formerly the Communist Party secretary of the Wuhan Lung Disease Hospital. She was promoted to vice-director of Wuhan Health Commission in April for her contribution in helping to set up a makeshift facility for treating coronavirus patients.


Category: China

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