Don't touch foreigners to reduce monkeypox risk, says senior Chinese health official

Don't touch foreigners to reduce monkeypox risk, says senior Chinese health official

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A senior Chinese health official advised people to avoid physical contact with foreigners to prevent possible monkeypox infection after the first known case of the virus on mainland China was reported on Friday (Sep 16).

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"To prevent possible monkeypox infection and as part of our healthy lifestyle, it is recommended that 1) you do not have direct skin-to-skin contact with foreigners," Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention posted on his official Weibo page on Saturday.

Wu also called for people to avoid "skin-to-skin contact" with people who have been abroad within the past three weeks as well as all "strangers", as he cautioned vigilance.

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

His post was widely shared across social media over the weekend, but the comments section under his initial post were disabled on Sunday and in the early hours of Monday in Beijing.

Some, who commented on forwarded or screenshot versions of his post, questioned 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.


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