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Bad demonstration effect of US moves: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2020-02-03 20:38
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Despite the World Health Organization's appeal to not let the novel coronavirus pandemic affect travel and trade, starting Sunday, the United States barred the entry of foreign nationals, other than immediate family of US citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days.

In doing so, it has unnecessarily damaged normal people-to-people exchanges and fueled global public panic.

The US also took the lead in bringing its citizens home from Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak of the virus, on Wednesday, before the WHO announced a global public health emergency. This prompted other countries to swiftly follow suit.

While China is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to curb the spread of the "devil" that has been unleashed, the aforementioned moves taken by the US have needlessly undermined confidence in the effectiveness of those efforts.

As China's efforts to combat the virus have won worldwide recognition, including from the US, for their scale, efficiency and transparency, the US' moves seem particularly perplexing, and those of a cynical persuasion might question their motivation.

Although the US has the obligation to protect its citizens' health and safety, as Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar has stressed on a number of occasions, "the risk of infection for Americans remains low".

And the measures being implemented by the US, which focus on early case recognition, isolation of those cases identified, contact tracing around those individuals, as well as heightened education and awareness of the US healthcare community are exactly those that China is already resolutely employing.

China has not closed its doors to US citizens despite the influenza epidemic in the US, which has already claimed the lives of about 8,000 people in the country and hospitalized about 100,000.

That the WHO declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus to be a public health emergency of international concern was mainly to warn countries with weaker public health systems to be on alert to it, not to send the world into a panic. That is why it has reiterated its endorsement and praise of China's anti-epidemic measures, and appealed to the world to avoid panic and overreaction.

It is to be hoped that the US will respond to the pandemic with a rational and sober mind, and make its judgment on facts rather than fear, and certainly not as a means to compound the problems for China.

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