Taiwan advises against travelling to China due to a surge in illnesses

2023 11 30T042409Z 1 LYNXMPEJAT03T RTROPTP 4 HEALTH CHINA scaled
FILE PHOTO: People wait for their rides outside a children's hospital in Beijing, China November 27, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

In response to an increase in illnesses, Taiwan’s health ministry has issued a travel advisory advising the elderly young children and individuals with weakened immune systems to avoid travelling to China. The goal is to address concerns regarding public health risks. However, there are differing opinions among experts on whether such advisories control the transmission of infections.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has previously requested information from China regarding the rise in illnesses. A WHO official mentioned that although the spike wasn’t as high as COVID 19 levels, no unusual or new pathogens had been identified.

Since the SARS outbreak that originated in China between 2002 and 2003, Taiwan has remained vigilant about disease outbreaks in its neighbouring country. The statement from Taiwan’s health ministry advises against essential travel to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau for vulnerable populations. If travel becomes necessary individuals are encouraged to get flu and COVID vaccinations

Critics such as Shu Ti Chiou and Rajib Dasgupta, who are epidemiologists themselves argue that implementing travel restrictions may lead to misconceptions about immunity against illnesses. However there are researchers who back the advisory highlighting the need for caution to avoid a rise in ailments during the winter and after restrictions.

Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister played down the situation by stating that an increase in illnesses is a shared challenge faced by all nations and assured that Chinese authorities have it well managed.

Currently there has been no response from China’s Taiwan affairs office or authorities, in Hong Kong or Macau.

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