A senior Chinese health official on Saturday advised people to avoid touching foreigners after the country reported its first case of the infectious monkeypox disease on the mainland.
Writing on his official Weibo page, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the CDC, recommended that people not have “direct skin-to-skin contact with foreigners … to prevent possible monkeypox infection and as part of our healthy lifestyle.”
He also advised against touching people who have been abroad within three weeks as well as “strangers.”
The post raised a few eyebrows, with some questioning why foreigners in China – many of whom have not left the country because of strict COVID-19 barriers – would be more dangerous than native Chinese.
China reported its first case of monkeypox on Friday. The CDC said a 29-year-old Chinese national arrived in the City of Chongqing Wednesday on a return from Spain.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the international monkeypox virus outbreak a public health emergency in July. In recent weeks, cases globally have fallen by more than a quarter, including by 55% in Europe, according to the WHO.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.