Republican Senators Urge U.S. China Travel Ban Amid Respiratory Illness Surge
Amidst a concerning surge in respiratory illnesses and pneumonia clusters among children in China, five Republican senators, led by Marco Rubio, have appealed to President Joe Biden's administration to impose a travel ban between the United States and China. The letter, spearheaded by Rubio, emphasized the need to restrict travel until more information is available about the potential dangers of the emerging illness, as respiratory concerns capture global attention.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has requested China to share additional information following reports on undiagnosed pneumonia clusters in children. While the WHO stated that health authorities haven't identified unusual or novel pathogens, Taiwan has advised vulnerable populations to avoid travel to China.
The White House and the Chinese embassy in the U.S. have not issued immediate comments. Maria Van Kerkhove of the WHO noted a rise in respiratory illnesses among children who had previously avoided pathogens during Covid-19 restrictions.
The United States and China, despite steadily increasing flights in recent months, face renewed calls for travel restrictions. Former President Donald Trump implemented Covid-19-related restrictions in 2020, while the U.S. lifted travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors in November 2021.
China is grappling with a surge in respiratory illnesses as it enters its first full winter season since lifting strict Covid-19 measures. Although concerns have been raised about potential strains on the healthcare system, experts both in China and abroad suggest a measured response, pointing out that similar increases in respiratory diseases occurred in other countries after easing pandemic measures.