Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that the United States and the rest of the world should cut off travel from China to prevent another global outbreak of a COVID variant.
The former Trump administration official appeared on Cats Roundtable, a local New York radio show hosted by John Catsimatidis, on Sunday and warned that a mass outbreak in China could cause a second COVID pandemic nearly three years after the first.
“We’re about to do the same thing again. The data is no good, but it sounds like we might have as many as one million – one million, John – Chinese people infected, fifty percent of their population traveling,” Pompeo said.
“There is no reason we should allow the Chinese to do this again, to send Chinese-infected persons around the world knowingly infecting people all across the globe. [Chinese President Xi Jinping] got away with this once. I regret that he wasn’t held accountable, he hasn’t been held accountable,” he continued. “But he’s doing it again, so, John, just as in the spring of 2020 when he sent people around the world he knew were infected, he’s doing the same darn thing again. He’s going to infect millions more. We shouldn’t let that happen.”
Catsimatidis agreed with Pompeo, saying, “We’ve been through hell.”
“The whole world has. The American business community has,” Pompeo responded. “And here we are, Xi Jinping doing it all over again. The virus came from a lab in Wuhan, and now it’s going to come from people inside of China traveling the world. The world should not permit this to happen again.”
China is facing an outbreak of COVID after the government lifted some of its draconian lockdown measures following mass nationwide protests of the policies that were initially put in place in 2020 to stop the spread of the malady. The failure of the lockdown policies to eradicate the disease in China has raised questions about whether Xi’s “zero COVID” approach was worth the dramatic toll it took on the nation’s economy.
Official Chinese data on the disease is unreliable, but signs across the country suggest that the illness is on the rise in China after it lifted lockdown policies last month.
The streets of Guangzhou, China’s southern economic hub, are lined with businesses advertising “for sale” or “help wanted” signs. Many industries have hit bottlenecks as workers have fallen ill. Hospitals and funeral homes are being overrun with the sick and dead, according to The New York Times.
COVID originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Experts disagree on the illness’s precise beginnings, with two leading theories being a wet market or the product of coronavirus research and a lab leak. One reason the precise origin of the disease has been difficult to pin down is the Chinese government’s lack of cooperation with other world health officials and researchers.
Xi recognized the “tough challenges” that China still has to face regarding COVID in an address on Saturday. He stood by his administration’s “zero COVID” policies and handling of the pandemic so far.
“Since COVID-19 struck, we have put the people first and put life first all along,” the Chinese president said, according to Bloomberg. “With extraordinary efforts, we have prevailed over unprecedented difficulties and challenges, and it has not been an easy journey for anyone. We have now entered a new phase of COVID response where tough challenges remain.”