Republican Senators are calling on President Joe Biden to institute a travel ban on China because of an alarming rise in an unknown respiratory illness in the country.
Senators Marco Rubio (Florida), JD Vance (Ohio), Rick Scott (Floria), Tommy Tuberville (Alabama) and Mike Braun (Indiana) wrote a letter to Biden on Friday calling for the ban.
The big picture: The senators called for immediate travel restrictions between the US and China until more information is gathered about the dangers posed by the new illness, citing China’s history of lying about public health crises.
- They emphasized the need for swift action to protect the health of Americans and the economy, citing the lack of transparency from China during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The senators referred to former President Trump’s travel ban on China in January 2020 as an effective model.
- China has reported an increase in cases of a mystery illness claimed to be pneumonia caused by known pathogens since mid-October, particularly affecting children and overwhelming hospitals in the northern part of the country.
- The World Health Organization has stated that it is unclear if the disease is due to an overall increase in respiratory infections or separate events.
The letter: The senators expressed concern based on history and requested a ban on travel to prevent the spread of the mystery illness.
- “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 lawmakers wrote. “That means we should immediately restrict travel between the United States and [China] 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.”