Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and four of his colleagues sent a letter Friday to President Joe Biden urging him to restrict travel between the U.S. and China due a “unknown respiratory illness” spreading in the communist country.
Earlier this week health authorities in Beijing warned of a coming surge in respiratory illness in China after a recent rise in pneumonia cases among children — many have compared these reports to the information coming from China during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In light of an unknown respiratory illness spreading throughout the People’s Republic of China (PRC), we call on you to immediately restrict travel between the United States and the PRC,” the Republican Senators wrote to President Biden.
“As you know, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a long history of lying about public health crises,” they wrote. “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 Republican Senators allude to when former President Donald Trump was criticized for “xenophobia” in January 2020 over his implementation of an order to restrict travel from China into the U.S.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is unclear if the disease is due to an overall increase in respiratory infections or separate events,” the Senators wrote. “If history is any indication, we have cause to be concerned.”
Rubio and his fellow Senators wrote that the CCP has an “incentive to lie” to WHO about the “mystery illness” — as they did throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — due to their own economic interests.
In the letter they also accuse the WHO of having a “track record of slavish deference to the CCP.”
“We must take the necessary steps to protect the health of Americans, and our economy. 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,” the letter reads.
Joining Sen. Rubio on the letter were Sens. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).