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With the first reported case of monkeypox infection, a top Chinese health official asked citizens in the country to avoid skin-to-skin contact with newly arrived foreigners.
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC), issued the warning saying via Weibo that close contact with foreigners having arrived in the last three weeks should be restricted.
Avoiding skin-to-skin contact with strangers and using disposable toilet seat covers as much as possible are recommendations made by Wu to "prevent a possible spread of monkeypox and as part of our healthy lifestyle."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Wu's warning not to touch foreigners is a matter related to "science and public health," "not a diplomatic issue."
Last week, China reported the first and so far only case of monkeypox recorded in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing. The local health commission has said the risk of an outbreak is low.
China's top health official Wu Zunyou told people not to touch foreigners after the country reported its first monkeypox case pic.twitter.com/aF25QVPMg4
The 29-year-old Chinese salesman has been placed in isolation. According to CCDC, the patient is believed to have engaged in sexual intercourse with another man during his stay in Berlin earlier this month.
The patient traveled to Spain before returning to Chongqing, China, on September 14, according to reports.