Controversial Chinese official advises not to touch foreigners

The Chinese CDC official caused controversy for advising people to “do not have skin-to-skin contact” with foreigners, after the country recorded its first case of monkeypox.

“Strengthening surveillance and prevention of monkeypox is important and necessary,” Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote on Weibo on September 17. increase the risk of disease spreading through international travel and close contact.

Mr. Wu gave five recommendations to the people and the first one is “no skin-to-skin contact with foreigners”. In addition, they also need to avoid “skin-to-skin contact” with strangers or people leaving the country in the previous three weeks.





Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at a press conference on Covid-19 in Beijing November 25, 2021. Image: CGTN.

Mr. Wu’s recommendation caused controversy on Weibo. Some people hailed this as sensible advice and were somewhat relieved that they did not know many foreigners. “Opening up the country is good but we can’t let everything rush in,” one Weibo user wrote.

Others criticized Mr. Wu as discriminatory. They recalled the wave of stigma and violence that Asians abroad faced when the Covid-19 first broke out. “This is like when the pandemic started, some people abroad avoid Chinese and Chinese people out of fear,” one user commented. “The advice is too general and will panic the public.”

Many also wonder why foreign nationals are considered more “dangerous” than locals, even though many of them have been permanent residents and have not recently left China due to anti-Covid-19 restrictions. Strict.

Mr. Wu was not immediately available for comment.

China on September 16 recorded its first case of monkeypox in the southwestern city of Chongqing, an imported case but did not specify whether it was a foreigner or a Chinese national.

Monkeypox, which is mainly found in Africa, began spreading globally in May and has appeared in about 90 countries. People infected with monkeypox often have flu-like symptoms and blisters.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on July 23 declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency. The world has recorded more than 60,000 cases of infection and several countries have reported their first deaths.

Like Tam (Theo CNN, Reuters)

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