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Chinese health official’s monkeypox warning is racist!

The chief epidemiologist at the Chinese CDC warned against touching foreigners so as to prevent being infected with monkeypox

A Chinese official’s statement on preventing monkeypox infections is in the line of fire. The health official from the Asian nation has advised his countrymen not to touch foreigners, fearing that doing so would infect the person in contact. The warning has come soon after China recorded its first monkeypox infection.

However, the warning has pushed China as a nation in bad light. Many re of the opinion that the warning that “skin-to-skin contact with foreigners” is extremely racist. It was Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised against touching foreigners so as to prevent being infected. The health official did so in a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

Monkeypox prevention warning invites people’s ire

With widespread criticism filling the comments section, the social media platform has disabled the option so as to let it stay under control. However, the damage is done. Wu had on his Weibo page posted thus: “In order 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.” Further he went on write that local Chinese people should avoid skin-to-skin contact with recent travellers who had returned from abroad in the last three weeks, and with strangers.

China recorded its first monkeypox case after a person who had arrived from abroad tested positive in the southwestern city of Chongqing. Wu’s post however stopped short of elaborating whether the person who arrived from abroad was a Chinese citizen or a foreign visitor.

The warning has not gone down well with many foreigners who have set up home on Chinese soil. After the post was widely shared, criticism took over. Not just foreigners, many Chinese citizens too, came out against the racist comment saying that many foreigners living in China had been extremely supportive of Chinese people at a time when the whole world was talking against the country in view of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Foreign nationals living in China are irked

Foreign nationals who live in China were a worried lot as soon as Wu’s warning went viral. One of them termed the statement as racist, adding that there are many foreigners who have been living in China as they can’t travel abroad owing to the closed borders. The Covid-19 prevention measures adopted by China have been so strict that lockdowns, border closures and travel restrictions being part of them.

Now with the monkeypox scare also setting in, these measures are expected to be made more severe. Monkeypox spreads through a virus that gets transmitted through close contact with infected people, animals or contaminated materials.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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