After recording its first case of monkeypox last Friday, China urged its people to avoid direct contact with foreigners “to prevent infection” with the disease, according to a senior Chinese health official.
A recommendation that makes noise. A senior Chinese health official has advised people to avoid “direct skin-to-skin contact with strangers” after the first case of monkeypox emerged in the country.
China recorded its first case on Friday, in a person who had recently entered the country and was in quarantine.
“To prevent monkeypox infection,” Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, made several recommendations.
“Do not have direct skin-to-skin contact with strangers”, in particular written on the Weibo social network.
A figure in the fight against Covid-19 in China, Wu Zunyou also called on the population to avoid this kind of contact with people who had been abroad during the previous three weeks, as well as with “strangers”.
He assured that China’s strict anti-Covid policy, with border control and mandatory quarantine upon arrival, has so far prevented the expansion of monkeypox in the territory, putting in place to guard against the risk of letting cases “fall through the net”.
Recommendations widely shared on social networks
His post was widely shared on several Chinese social media over the weekend, but the comments section, on the original post, has been disabled.
Among those who commented on screenshots of his message, some cried ‘discrimination’ and others pointed out that many foreign workers residing in China have been unable to leave the country since the start of anti-Covid restrictions.
“Does he know that many foreigners have stayed in China in recent years? “asked a surfer.
An edited message
Wu Zunyou’s original post on Weibo has since been edited, presumably to counter the onset of controversy.
It now only targets “foreigners who have recently (within three weeks) traveled from overseas monkeypox-affected areas and who may be infected with monkeypox”.
The patient did not report from China after developing symptoms including a rash, the health departments of the southwest Chongqing Municipality said in a report.
“Immediately placed in isolation”, the patient “is in stable condition”, according to the report, specifying that “the risk of transmission is low”.
Monkeypox first manifests as a high fever and quickly spreads to a rash.
The disease usually heals on its own after two to three weeks, but it can lead to serious complications, including bacterial infections.
According to the WHO dashboard which lists all confirmed cases, as of September 7 there were 54,709 cases and 18 registered deposits in 125 countries, 98% of which are in Europe and North America.