A group of GOP senators is pushing President Joe Biden to ban travel from China over the appearance of a new respiratory illness.
A group of five senators sent a letter to the White House on Friday raising alarm about “an unknown respiratory illness spreading throughout the People’s Republic of China.” The senators – Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, J.D. Vance of Ohio, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, and Mike Braun of Indiana – said relying on China for accurate information about the disease would be a mistake.
“We call on you to immediately restrict travel between the United States and the PRC. As you know, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a long history of lying about public health crises. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCP’s obfuscation of the truth, and lack of transparency, robbed the United States of vital knowledge about the disease and its origin,” the senators wrote.
“At this moment, the world faces another unknown pathogen emanating from the PRC that could spread to other countries, including the United States. The PRC has reported an increase in this mystery illness — which it claims to be pneumonia caused by known pathogens — since mid-October,” the senators continued.
The letter notes that the World Health Organization has requested “detailed information” about the unknown illness from China’s Communist regime; however, the “CCP has an incentive to lie, just as they did throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and any new pathogen could derail its efforts to stimulate its economy.”
“We should not wait for the WHO to take action given its track record of slavish deference to the CCP. We must take the necessary steps to protect the health of Americans, and our economy,” the letter says. “That means we should immediately restrict travel between the United States and the PRC until we know more about the dangers posed by this new illness. A ban on travel now could save our country from death, lockdowns, mandates, and further outbreaks later.”
Northern China has reported a surge in illness similar to the flu since mid-October, according to Sky News. About a month later, the public disease surveillance system ProMed issued a warning about “undiagnosed pneumonia” spreading in China. The ProMed report specifically highlighted claims of many children falling sick with the disease.
“This report suggests a widespread outbreak of an undiagnosed respiratory illness,” an editor’s note on the ProMed report said. “It is not at all clear when this outbreak started as it would be unusual for so many children to be affected so quickly.”