China’s health chief warns against ‘skin-to-skin contact with foreigners’ amid first case of monkeypox

A senior Chinese health official recently warned people on social media not to touch foreigners as the country reported its first case of smallpox.

In a Weibo post on Saturday, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, announced that China now has a case of monkey pox which “slipped through the net” despite being tight COVID-19[feminine] restrictions

“It is necessary and important to strengthen monitoring and prevention of monkeypox,” Wu wrote.

He also listed five recommendations in the post, with the first one sparking controversy online.

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“To prevent possible monkeypox infection and as part of our healthy lifestyle, it is recommended to 1) not have direct skin-to-skin contact with foreigners,” he said. he wrote.

Chinese health authorities detected monkeypox, an infection that causes flu-like symptoms, severe rashes and other symptoms, from an “international arrival” under the COVID-19 quarantine in the southern municipality of Chongqing -western China.

Many Weibo users shared Wu’s post, with some supporting his advice and expressing relief at not meeting many non-Chinese citizens. However, some users criticized Wu’s message and even compared it to what Asians experienced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This is a bit like when the pandemic started, when some people abroad avoided the Chinese they saw out of fear,” commented one user. “I don’t think these two things have any scientific basis, they are too broad and s they will aggravate public panic”.

“When the pandemic started, some of our foreign friends stood up and used our own platforms to tell everyone, ‘the Chinese are not the virus,'” another user wrote. Then, when the domestic outbreak was brought under control and our foreign friends began to face discrimination, many Chinese people with their own platforms were completely silent.”

Other Weibo users questioned Wu’s post, asking why longtime foreigners in China are supposedly more dangerous than locals.

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On Sunday, the comments section of Wu’s post, which circulated widely on Weibo over the weekend, was disabled.

The senior health official clarified his message Monday after the reaction, advising people to avoid “intimate direct skin-to-skin contact” with foreigners or people who have traveled from areas with confirmed cases of monkeypox.

Some Chinese experts believe that, unlike COVID-19, which led to sudden lockdowns across the country, including the months-long lockdown in Shanghai that began at the end of March – Monkey pox will not lead to national lockdowns.

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Talking to him global times, Lu Hongzhou, head of Shenzhen’s Third People’s Hospital, said the disease “poses little threat to Chinese communities.” However, Lu also mentioned strict customs quarantine inspection to prevent cases imported into China.

From September 19, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded 23,893 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States, with California having the highest recorded number with 4,656 infections, followed by New York with 3,755 infections.

Featured image via Peking University

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