Chinese health official warns locals to not touch foreigners

China has reported its first case of Monkeypox in its city, Chongqing. In a response to this news, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wu Zunyou has warned the Chinese people to not touch foreigners. Wu Zunyou wrote on Weibo, China’s alternative to Twitter, that the tight restrictions and border controls helped the country in keeping the monkeypox infection away from the country, but one case has managed to enter the country. As per the news, the person who has tested positive for monkeypox infection arrived from outside the country. The person was under quarantine as a COVID-19 prevention measure.  Wu Zunyou said that as China has successfully managed to contain the COVID-19 infection, it needs to do the same for the monkeypox infection. He further stated that the country needs to improve its monitoring and prevention measures for monkeypox. He offered a few recommendations to the public as a part of prevention measures. The first recommendation for the Chinese public was to not have skin-to-skin contact with foreigners. This advice by Wu Zunyou sparked controversy stating that such actions are extreme and can generate hate towards the foreigners living in China. Such actions are similar to how Asians were treated in western countries at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. During the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese people were being targeted in the US and other western countries on a belief of being responsible for COVID-19. The news that the COVID-19 outbreak was a result of a Chinese person eating a bat, turned the western people against them, resulting in discrimination against Chinese people. Now, the monkeypox infection, although from Africa, became a global concern when the cases started to rise in the US. Currently, the US has 23,116 total cases of Monkeypox, higher than any other country. Last week, the US also reported the first death due to monkeypox. Globally, there are 61,282 total cases of monkeypox, with 20 total deaths.  Because of this, the recommendation of not having skin-to-skin contact with foreigners has welcomed controversy. Some users on Weibo have welcomed this decision as it is expected to help the country effectively maintain the monkeypox infection. Other users on the other hand have called it a move to spark discrimination against foreigners living in the country. As per these users, instead of stating not to have skin-to-skin contact with foreigners, it should have said to not have skin-to-skin contact with anyone.  Many users stated that the recommendations provided by Wu Zunyou have little to no scientific backing and instead of relieving people for fear of monkeypox, it can aggravate it further. Many people also pointed out that many people are living in the country for a long time, and have not left for many years. Such people are just as harmless as the local Chinese people when it comes to spreading monkeypox infection. But such advice does not address that, making it unclear which foreigners to avoid in terms of skin-to-skin contact.  It looks like there needs to be a clarification to be issued by Wu Zunyou, regarding his statement, which will eliminate the discrimination towards foreigners that are living in the country. Based on the responses from the public, the people are agreeing on opening the doors of the country but have suggested strong quarantine measures to prevent the spread of monkeypox. This response is also coming in the middle of a COVID fatigue that has disrupted the daily lives of people and local small businesses.