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Senators urge Biden to ban flights to China: Reason named

Senators urge Biden to ban flights to China: Reason named Senators call on the White House to ban flights to China (photo: Getty Images)

Senators from the Republican Party of the United States, led by Marco Rubio, have called on President Joe Biden to ban air travel with China following a sharp increase in the number of respiratory illness cases in the PRC, reports Reuters.

"We should immediately restrict travel between the United States and (China) until we know more about the dangers posed by this new illness," the letter, signed by Rubio and several other Republicans, stated.

A representative of the Biden administration stated that the United States is closely monitoring the increase in respiratory illness cases in China but added that seasonal trends are observed.

"Nothing is appearing out of the ordinary. ... At this time, there is no indication that there is a link between the people who are seeking care in U.S. emergency departments and the outbreak of respiratory illness in China," the White House added.

The representative of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Penyue, stated in response to Rubio's letter that the relevant allegations are purely malicious fabrications, and China strongly opposes them.

Maria Van Kerkhove, who serves as the Acting Head of the WHO Department for Epidemic and Pandemic Prevention, previously stated that the increase is likely due to an increase in the number of children who have been exposed to pathogens they avoided during two years of COVID-19-related restrictions.

China lifts strict COVID-19 measures

In December 2022, nearly three years after the first strict restrictive measures, China announced the easing of COVID restrictions and quarantine. These were the first radical changes since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

A month later, in January 2023, China opened maritime and land crossings with Hong Kong and lifted the requirement for arriving travelers to undergo quarantine.

The United States lifted travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign guests, including those from China, starting in November 2021. In June 2022, Washington also abolished the requirement for airline passengers to undergo testing before boarding the plane.