According to the South China Morning Post, top Chinese epidemiologist Wu Zunyou has changed his advice about monkeypox after online backlash for being “racist and discriminatory” on his first health advice over the disease.
Wu revised his advice on Monday, urging people to avoid “intimate direct skin-to-skin contact” with foreigners or those who returned from locations that have reported monkeypox outbreaks.
In his first advice on Saturday, he recommended people “Don’t have direct skin-to-skin contact with foreigners” and “don’t have skin-to-skin contact with people who have returned from abroad [in the past three weeks].”
China reported its first monkeypox case on September 16 in the southwestern city of Chongqing. A person who arrived in Chongqing from Germany tested positive for the virus while staying at a mandated quarantine site.
In his latest post, Wu, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote that the risk of a monkeypox outbreak in China is low.
Wu wrote, “As the spread [of monkeypox] in the two high-risk areas—America and Europe—subsides, the pressure on us to prevent the import of cases into mainland China has been reduced.”
According to Reuters, over 60,700 monkeypox cases have been detected in about 90 countries worldwide. In addition, the first linked deaths have been reported in some non-endemic areas.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the fatality rate for monkeypox is between 3-6%.
The WHO declared monkeypox a global health emergency in July. In addition, the Organization labels the disease a “public health emergency of international concern, ” aiming to gather a coordinated international response to specific outbreaks that pose a public health risk.