Taiwan Issues Travel Advisory Amid Surge In Respiratory Illnesses In China. Experts Speak
Last week, the World Health Organisation requested China provide information on a concerning surge in respiratory illnesses and reported clusters of pneumonia in children.
But on Monday, a WHO official noted that the spike is not as high as before the COVID-19 crisis, and reiterated that no new or unusual pathogens had been found recently.
Then on Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry Wang Yi said the recent rise in respiratory conditions is a common issue faced by all countries and China has it under effective control.
China’s Interactions With The World Will Not Be Affected: Wang
“That is a very common phenomenon in many countries,” Wang told reporters in New York where he is chairing a UN Security Council session on the Israel-Hamas violence.
A brutal conflict has been raging in the Middle East since October 7, claiming thousands of lives on either sides and injuring countless others to varying severities.
“China’s interactions with the international community will not be affected … we welcome more visits from friends from across the world,” the foreign minister noted.
Taiwan Issues Travel Advisory As China Sees Spike In Illnesses
Taiwan has been wary of disease outbreaks in its giant neighbour since the SARS outbreak that started in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002-2003.
The island nation on Thursday urged the elderly, very young and those with poor immunity to avoid travel to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau unless necessary.
In a statement released after a weekly Cabinet meeting, Taiwan’s Health Ministry said people should get flu and COVID vaccinations before going to China if travel is necessary.
Some Experts Doubt Travel Restrictions Are Effective Measures
Shu-Ti Chiou of the Health and Sustainable Development Foundation said the advisory could make people mistakenly believe they would be safe as long as they did not go to China.
“Travel restrictions for respiratory infections are not an effective measure for interrupting transmission,” said Rajib Dasgupta of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India.
But some public health researchers believe the advisory is reasonable as Taiwan is also likely to see a spike in respiratory conditions in winter and following the lifting of restrictions.