Don’t touch foreigners: Senior Chinese official’s advice ‘to prevent monkeypox’

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An official in China has advised citizens not to touch foreigners after a case of monkeypox virus was reported in the mainland.

Wu Xunyu, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, posted the comment on his official Weibo page on Saturday.

“To prevent possible monkeypox infection and as part of our healthy lifestyle, it is recommended that you do not have direct skin-to-skin contact with foreigners,” they wrote.

Taking a vigil, he asked people to avoid such contact with those who have been abroad within the last three weeks as well as all “strangers”.

“It is necessary and very important to strengthen the surveillance and prevention of monkeypox epidemic at the societal level,” he wrote.

The disease can be spread through skin-to-skin contact and through surfaces such as linen touched by someone who is infected, but no scientific evidence has suggested that such advice should be followed only with “foreigners” in mind. should follow.

The officer’s post was widely shared on social media over the weekend, but the comments section under his initial post was disabled in Beijing on Sunday and in the early hours of Monday, Reuters reported.

A monkeypox infection was reported on Friday in the city of Chongqing, in southwestern China.

The case is mainland China’s first known monkeypox infection amid a recent global outbreak of the virus.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the patient has been identified as a 29-year-old Chinese national who flew from Spain to Chongqing on September 14.

The municipal health commission said in a statement that the person had been placed in quarantine upon arrival in Chongqing.

All close contacts were isolated and kept under medical observation.

The case comes as Beijing continues to implement its zero-Covid policy which includes snap lockdowns and mass testing measures.

About 90 countries – where monkeypox is not endemic – have reported outbreaks of the viral disease.

In July, the World Health Organization designated monkeypox as a global emergency.

There have been more than 60,000 confirmed cases and some non-endemic countries have reported their first related deaths.

Additional reporting by agencies

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