A top Chinese health official has issued a warning to the public, advising them to avoid “skin-to-skin contact with foreigners” to prevent the spread of monkeypox, following the country’s confirmation of its first case.
China reported its first case of monkeypox in an individual who arrived from abroad and is currently in quarantine. In response, a top Chinese health official, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, advised the public to avoid direct skin-to-skin contact with foreigners as a precautionary measure. He also recommended avoiding contact with those who have been overseas in the past three weeks and all strangers. Wu emphasized that China’s strict COVID-19 regulations and tight border controls have helped prevent the spread of monkeypox, and he urged vigilance to maintain this success. However, his recommendations have raised concerns about potential xenophobia, with people cautioning against discrimination, as there are foreigners and long-term residents in China who have not left the country due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The patient diagnosed with monkeypox in Chongqing was immediately isolated upon arrival, and there have been no signs of social transmission, with a low risk of further spread, according to local health officials. Monkeypox causes painful skin lesions and flu-like symptoms and can spread through direct contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and potentially through sexual transmission. The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak, which has been reported in several countries, resulting in over 50,000 cases and 16 deaths since the outbreak began.