A 36-year-old Chinese COVID-19 patient has died of coronavirus-related respiratory failure five days after being discharged from the Wuhan hospital that gave him the all clear.
According to release documents issued by the temporary hospital set up at the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center, in China’s central province of Hubei, Li Liang was discharged on 26th February and deemed to have recovered from the deadly disease.
On 2nd March, just five days into his 14-day mandatory isolation period at Vienna International Hotel, Mr Li was taken back to hospital with shortness of breath and declared dead shortly after.
His wife, Ms Mei, has since revealed a death certificate issued by the Wuhan Health Commission which lists COVID-19 and “respiratory blockage and failure” as the “direct cause” of Mr Li’s death.
Ms Mei told local media that her husband had been admitted to the makeshift facility for those with non-critical symptoms on 12th February.
Mr Li’s release papers show he spent 14 days in hospital and passed two reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction – or RT-PCR – tests, which is currently the most common method to test for infection.
Ms Mei kept in contact with her spouse via video call and claimed he was already experiencing symptoms such as a dry mouth and a bloated stomach on the second day of his hotel quarantine.
On the morning of his death, he felt faint and weak, Ms Mei noted.
According to Vienna International Hotel, Mr Li was among more than 10 patients who arrived from the temporary facility for 14-day isolation.
No others have experienced a repeat of coronavirus symptoms thus far.
On 4th March, the press office for China’s 16 makeshift medical facilities, which are collectively known as Fangcang Hospital, said more ‘recovered’ patients had been readmitted with coronavirus symptoms.
The incidents have raised concerns over so-called ‘repeat infections’, but Chinese health experts agree that such a phenomenon is not likely.
Analysis by Chinese epidemiologist and pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, who discovered the SARS coronavirus in 2003, suggests the most likely factor leading to repeat COVID-19 diagnoses was the current method of testing, which can lead to false negatives.
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