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GOP senators: Halt travel with China to stop ‘mystery illness’

American public health experts seconded that assessment in interviews with POLITICO. They said it was likely that China, which only ended its Covid-19 lockdowns in January, was experiencing the same return of seasonal respiratory diseases that the U.S. and other nations did earlier.

The WHO has advised against travel restrictions.

But the Republican senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, J.D. Vance of Ohio, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Mike Braun of Indiana, said that they didn’t trust the WHO or the Chinese.

“A ban on travel now could save our country from death, lockdowns, mandates, and further outbreaks later,” they wrote.

They cited former President Donald Trump’s decision to halt travel with China in January 2020. “History and common sense show his decision was the right one,” they wrote.

The White House had no immediate comment on the letter.

Though no prominent Democrats have echoed the call for a travel ban, some have expressed concern. Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin told POLITICO he was frustrated with China’s transparency and the information it was sharing. “We don’t know how reliable it is,” he said.

And U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel urged China to be more forthcoming in a post to X last week: “It’s time to abandon COVID deception and delays as transparent and timely information saves lives,” he wrote.

Carmen Paun and Alice Miranda Ollstein contributed to this story.


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