Chinese heath official has recently instinct residents of China to avoid contact with foreigners in the country and those who just arrived following the recent monkeypox outbreak in one of China’s state.
In a news report, the official known as Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote on China’s social platform Weibo on Saturday that the country’s Covid-19 restrictions and tight border controls had thus far prevented the spread of monkeypox – until a case “slipped through the net.”
That case was detected in the southwest municipality of Chongqing. An “international arrival” was under mandatory Covid-19 quarantine when the infection was discovered.
Local authorities however, they did not say whether the person was a foreign or Chinese national.
Cases of monkeypox, which causes flu-like symptoms and blister-like lesions, began emerging around the world in May. The United States has reported 23,500 cases so far this year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It is necessary and important to strengthen the monitoring and prevention of monkeypox,” Wu wrote in his post, emphasizing the risk of disease spreading through international travel and close contact.
He gave five recommendations for the public – the first being, “Do not have skin-to-skin contact with foreigners.”
The recommendation stirred controversy on Weibo, with some praising his advice as reasonable and some expressing relief that they didn’t know many foreigners.
“It’s good to open the country’s door, but we can’t just let everything in,” one Weibo user wrote.
But others slammed Wu’s post as discriminatory and harmful, with several drawing parallels to the wave of xenophobia and violence Asians overseas faced at the start of the global pandemic.
“This is a bit like when the pandemic began, when some people overseas avoided any Chinese people they saw out of fear,” a Weibo user wrote.
“I don’t believe these two things have any scientific basis, they are too broad and will exacerbate public panic.”
Others pointed out that there were many foreign workers and long-time residents in China who would not have left the country recently, and therefore would be no more likely to be infected than Chinese citizens.
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