Chinese officials charged following death of teenage boy

Feb. 3 (UPI) — China is taking disciplinary action against two officials in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, following the death of a teenage boy with cerebral palsy.

Chinese news service Capital News, a publication of Beijing Daily Group, reported Monday the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of Hubei Province has charged two officials: Wang Baoquan, a Chinese Communist Party chief in Huajiahe township in Huanggang, a city in easternmost Hubei Province, and Peng Zhihong, deputy party chief.

Wang and Peng are being held responsible for the death of the boy, Yan Cheng, after Yan’s father was placed in quarantine.

Before leaving home, Yan’s father had reportedly requested relatives and village officials look after his son.

Yan’s father was hospitalized on Jan. 22; last Wednesday he was confirmed for the virus and was relocated to a quarantine facility.

Yan Cheng was also moved to a facility the same day but was found dead a few hours later, according to reports.

Yan’s case drew outrage last week on Chinese social media platforms. The town of Hongan, where the family resided, subsequently launched an investigation.

A local committee entrusted with the care of Yan said the boy was given food on Jan. 24 and 26, then given “two cups of amino acid” supplements to eat on Wednesday, according to the Hongan town government.

Health authorities around the world are racing for a cure for the coronavirus, also called 2019-nCoV. The official death toll is now 362 worldwide, following the first known death in the Philippines.

Doctors in Thailand have met some success with a cocktail of antiviral drugs tested on a critically ill patient, Bloomberg reported Sunday.

HIV medicines lopinavir and ritonavir, mixed with anti-flu medication oseltamivir, sold as Tamiflu by Roche Holding AG and Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., has shown results. One patient is now testing negative for 2019-nCoV, Thai health authorities said.

“There’s not enough evidence to support the effectiveness just yet,” Somkiat Lalitwongsa, director of the Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok, said. “But we report to contribute to the medical community globally. The results look good so far.”

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