A senior Chinese health official has advised people to avoid physical contact with strangers to prevent possible monkeypox infection after the first known case of the virus in mainland China was reported on Friday.
“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 strangers,” said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Centers Chinese disease control and prevention. on its official Weibo page on Saturday.
Wu also called on people to avoid “skin-to-skin contact” with people who have been abroad in the past three weeks as well as with all “foreigners”.
“It is necessary and very important to strengthen surveillance and prevention of the monkeypox epidemic at the social level,” he wrote.
Her post was widely shared on social media over the weekend, but the comments section under her initial post was disabled on Sunday and in the early hours of Monday in Beijing.
Some, who commented on forwarded versions or screenshots of his message, wondered why foreigners in China, many of whom are long-term residents and have not left recently due to Covid-19 barriers, were considered more dangerous than locals.
Wu did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters on the matter, sent to his social media account on Monday.
The city of Chongqing in the southwest of the country recorded a monkeypox virus infection in an individual who arrived from overseas on Friday, marking the first known infection of monkeypox in mainland China amid of the recent global outbreak of the virus.
The risk of transmission is low because the individual was quarantined upon arrival in Chongqing, the municipal health commission said in a statement. All close contacts have been isolated and placed under medical observation.
About 90 countries where monkeypox is not endemic have reported outbreaks of the viral disease, which the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency. There have been more than 60,000 confirmed cases and some non-endemic countries have reported their first related deaths.