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When the shoe is on the other foot

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-05 07:31
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JIN DING/CHINA DAILY

The number of fresh novel coronavirus infections in China-outside of Hubei province-between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning was four. The number of fresh infections in Hubei-excluding its capital Wuhan, which is the epicenter of the outbreak-was one. In the same period Wuhan saw 114 infections, a huge drop from weeks ago.

The numbers show the novel coronavirus epidemic can be brought under control in the not-so-distant future. No one knows when but it could be soon.

However, the figures outside China are worrying. There were 516 fresh infections in the Republic of Korea on Wednesday, and 510 in Italy.

That's why a consensus is being formed in China that cross-national population flows must be regulated to prevent the epidemic from returning to China. Chinese cities are imposing quarantines on people arriving from hard-hit countries and asking all other arrivals to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Some have called these measures "discriminatory", but they are not.

First, the measures are based on travel records, not nationality. Anybody coming from regions that might be hit by the epidemic is being isolated, their nationality notwithstanding. So, where's the "discrimination"?

Second, it is common practice for all countries to take preventive measures to reduce the spread of the virus. When the epidemic first broke out in Wuhan, many countries tried to limit visitors from China: The United States refused entry to anyone who had been to China in the past 14 days. To now accuse China of "discrimination" smacks of a double standard.

Third, cities in China are providing those who have been quarantined with assistance, such as good medical facilities and attending medical workers. A friendly gesture should not be interpreted as "discrimination".

 

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