A top Chinese health official has warned people against touching foreigners, a day after mainland China confirmed its first case of monkeypox, local media reported.
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote on China’s Twitter-like 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, according to local authorities however, they did not say whether the person was a foreign or Chinese national, CNN reported.
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, emphasiSing 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, CNN reported.