Chinese netizens concerned US lifting of travel restrictions could cause more infections
Published: Jun 09, 2020 11:18 PM

People walk across a street near the Treasury Department in Washington D.C., the United States, May 7, 2020. U.S. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

Chinese netizens have expressed concern over the US government's decision to lift travel restrictions on 44 locations, saying that it may cause more COVID-19 infections both in the US and other countries, as there is still no sign of the deadly disease slowing down in the hardest-hit country.

The Pentagon announced Monday that it had lifted travel restrictions on 44 destinations, including 39 US states - one of them being the previous epicenter of the pandemic, New York State - and five countries: Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, Japan and the UK, which had been placed to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNN reported on Monday.

The Pentagon said in a statement that these locations "meet the conditions to lift travel restrictions, subject to the assessment of conditions at individual military installations within these areas," according to CNN.   

The report said that the criteria include "removal of shelter-in-place orders or other travel restrictions," "14-day downward trajectory of flu-like and COVID-19-like symptoms," and "14-day downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases or positive tests." However, states such as California and Florida have not yet met the criteria.

Chinese internet users wondered what economic benefits the decision might bring, as no one would want to travel to the US at this time, and worried that the decision might be made too early and lacking thorough consideration, given the fact that the US is still far from safe based on its number of infections. 

By Tuesday morning, the US recorded 24,677 new COVID-19 infections and 791 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections in the country to almost 2 million, according to the latest real-time tally reported on Monday (local time) by Johns Hopkins University.

"It is reckless and irresponsible to make such decisions, as the number of increased cases has stubbornly remained at about 20,000 a day," said one netizen. "I am afraid the virus may be spread to those five countries and further to other parts of the world."

"When China lifted restrictions on Wuhan, the city had had zero new infections for 14 days," said another. "I am glad we have a government that is responsible to the people and the rest of the world."

Global Times