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Chinese Citizens Banned from Touching Foreigners Due to Monkey Pox, Racist Turns?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Chinese Citizens Banned from Touching Foreigners Due to Monkey Pox, Racist Turns?
Chinese Citizens Banned from Touching Foreigners Due to Monkey Pox, Racist Turns? A top Chinese health official has warned locals against touching foreigners, a day after China recorded its first monkey pox infection.

Reported by the BBC, Tuesday (9/20/2022), in a post on Weibo, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wu Zunyou advised against "skin-to-skin contact with foreigners".

The post drew controversy, with some labels being racist.

Comments on the original post have been disabled from the platform.

"To prevent possible monkey pox infection and as part of our healthy lifestyle, it is recommended that 1) you do not have direct skin contact with strangers," Wu said on his Weibo page on Saturday.

In addition, Wu also asked locals to avoid skin contact with tourists who had just returned from abroad in the past three weeks, and with foreigners.

He posted the comments a day after the southwestern city of Chongqing reported the first case of monkey pox in someone coming from abroad. It is unclear whether the person is a Chinese citizen or a foreigner.

The post, which was widely shared on social media over the weekend, attracted most of the critical comments on Weibo.

"It's very inappropriate [to say]. At the beginning of the pandemic, some foreigners stood up and [defended us] saying that Chinese people are not a virus," one commenter wrote.

"How racist is this? What about people like me who have lived in China for nearly ten years? We haven't seen our family for 3-4 years because the border is closed," wrote another user on Weibo, who turned out to be a foreigner.

The Spread of Monkey Pox Virus

China has imposed some of the toughest Covid measures in the world since the start of the pandemic, which include rapid lockdowns, border closures, mandatory testing and travel restrictions.

The monkey pox virus, which is transmitted through close contact with an infected person, contaminated animal or material, usually causes symptoms such as fever, headache and rash.

About 90 countries where monkey pox is not considered 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 several non-endemic countries have reported their first related deaths.


5 Misconceptions About Monkey Pox

1. Monkey pox is a new disease

Although so many people have only heard about monkey pox recently. However, monkey pox has actually existed since time immemorial, precisely since the late 1950s.

"We've known it since the late 1950s," said professor of epidemiology medicine at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, Jessica Justman.

The monkey pox virus was first detected in Africa, where monkey pox was used as a research destination. However, the monkey pox that appeared today and the ancient one does have differences.

2. Monkey pox is transmitted through a handshake

Monkey pox patients will develop a rash that can spread the virus to the touch. However, shaking hands does not pose a great risk to the transmission of monkey pox.

"Handshakes last only seconds, and in these outbreaks, transmission usually involves intimate and prolonged skin-to-skin contact," said senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, Amesh A Adalja.

Other Misconceptions

3. Monkey Pox is As Contagious as COVID-19

In fact, monkey pox does not have the same transmission process as COVID-19. So these two diseases are not equal when compared through the way they are transmitted.

"COVID is highly contagious in a way that monkey pox can't," said professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, dr. Shireesha Dhanireddy.

COVID-19 spreads through saliva-like respiratory droplets and very small particles, called aerosols, that float in the air.

"For COVID-19, you go to public events, chat in restaurants, eat in restaurants. It was exposure. That's not the kind of exposure we're talking about with monkey pox," Shireesha said.

Peter added, although the spread of monkey pox is possible, it is by no means easy. At the very least, one should spend three to six hours face-to-face for the monkey pox virus to spread through breathing.

"Although there is a possibility of contracting monkey pox from contaminated objects. But it is highly unlikely to contract monkey pox from something like a door handle or exercise equipment," Amesh said.

4. Cuddling with a Monkey Pox Patient Is Safe

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found that 95 percent of monkey pox cases were most likely to contract the virus through sexual contact.

"However, sexual contact does not have to occur in order for the disease to be transmitted from person to person. Even long kissing or hug sessions can lead to transmission of the virus," Amesh said.

So according to him, it is wrong for people to think monkey pox can only be transmitted through sexual contact. Considering that monkey pox can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact for quite a long time.

"If a person with monkey pox has a wound on his skin and his skin rubs against the other person's skin, it can transmit the disease. The closer the contact and the longer the duration of contact, the more likely it is that transmission occurs," Amesh said.

5. Monkey Pox is a Threat to Children

The next misconception about monkey pox is its potential transmission to children, including in schools. Many parents are concerned that their child will contract monkey pox at school or daycare.

That's because NBC reported on Aug. 5 that an Illinois man with monkey pox may have exposed children at the daycare center where he worked.

In the exception of the eligibility rule, federal officials eventually gave the children access to the monkey pox vaccine.

Whereas according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), very few children have confirmed cases of monkey pox, and their risk of infection is low.

"However if a child has a suspicious rash and has a close history, personal contact with someone who has a confirmed or probable case of monkeypox, or a travel history that puts them at risk, they should be tested for monkeypox," the AAP wrote.

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