(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Andrew Silver in Shanghai – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) (Additional reporting by Anne-Marie Rountree and Farah Master in Hong Kong – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Miral Fahmy
Taiwan urges the elderly and young to avoid visits to China due to respiratory illnesses
by aparodyoflife ·
TAIPEI/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s health ministry on Thursday urged the elderly, young and immunocompromised to avoid traveling to China due to a recent increase in respiratory illnesses there, a move some experts said was ineffective in controlling them. Public health risks.
Last week, the World Health Organization asked China to provide detailed information about the rise, which an organization official said was not as high as it was before the Covid-19 pandemic, and no unusual or new pathogens had been discovered.
Taiwan has been concerned about disease outbreaks in its giant neighbor since the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which began in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002-2003.
China, whose government claims to rule Taiwan democratically, initially tried to cover up the outbreak.
In a statement issued after the weekly Cabinet meeting, Taiwan’s Ministry of Health said that due to the rise in respiratory illnesses in China, the elderly, young children and other immunocompromised people are asked not to travel to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau unless necessary.
She added that if travel is essential, people should get flu and Covid vaccines before traveling to China.
Xu Tie-chiu, an epidemiologist at the Taipei Health and Sustainable Development Foundation, said the warning would lead people to mistakenly believe they would not contract the respiratory disease as long as they did not go to China.
“Travel restrictions due to respiratory infections are not an effective measure to stop transmission,” said Rajib Dasgupta, an epidemiologist and professor of community health at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
Some public health researchers said the travel warning is reasonable, noting that Taiwan is also likely to see a rise in respiratory illnesses in the winter and after pandemic restrictions are lifted. “They will be careful not to rush abroad,” said Song Il Cho, an epidemiologist at Seoul National University.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday that the rise of respiratory diseases in China is a common issue faced by all countries and that Chinese authorities are effectively controlling it.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office and authorities in Hong Kong and Macau did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.