January 21, 2020 / 4:22 PM / a month ago

Chinese doctor investigating virus outbreak says he was infected

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese physician who was investigating the outbreak of a deadly new virus in central China says he has himself been infected.

Wang Guangfa, who heads the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Beijing’s Peking University First Hospital, was part of a team of experts that earlier this month visited Wuhan, where the coronavirus emerged.

Chinese state television reported Wednesday morning that Wang had been in treatment in isolation since Tuesday, suspected of being infected by the new coronavirus.

“I was diagnosed and my condition is fine,” Wang told Hong Kong’s Cable TV on Tuesday, thanking people for their concern.

The death toll from the flu-like coronavirus strain, which officials have confirmed can be transmitted between humans, had climbed to six as of Tuesday, with the number of reported cases rising above 300. Fifteen medical personnel are among those infected.

Wang, who conducted research on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, said he was receiving treatment and would receive an injection soon. He did not give details on how he may have been infected.

“I don’t want everyone to put too much attention on my condition,” he told the channel.

Wang told state media on Jan. 10 that the outbreak appeared to be under control, with most patients showing mild symptoms and some having been discharged.

He could not be reached by Reuters on Tuesday.

Reporting by Tony Munroe and Sophie Yu; Additional reporting by Meg Shen and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Christian Schmollinger

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