China's foreign ministry is urging diplomats to not return to the country. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
April 3 (UPI) -- Beijing's foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to refrain from traveling to China, a week after it banned all non-Chinese people from entering the country.
Chinese diplomatic spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Friday at a regular press briefing China's priorities lie in preventing the importation of the deadly coronavirus back into the country and blocking a second wave of infections.
China has claimed since last month the epidemic is under control and that the situation has stabilized. Travel restrictions have been lifted against the residents of Hubei Province, the epicenter of China's outbreak, but the public may be leery of official assessments. Last week, police in Jiangxi Province fought back people from Hubei attempting to cross a bridge.
On Friday Hua said globetrotting diplomats should not be an exception to the rule.
"All human beings are equal before an infectious disease, which does not discriminate," Hua said. "The foreign ministry may give diplomatic immunity, but the virus does not."
Hua also suggested foreign diplomats returning to China are bringing back the virus. About 66 percent of 84 people who have returned to resume work were "close contacts" or suspected patients, she said.
"Our information is that there have been confirmed cases among the foreign diplomats who returned to China."
China has said the virus originated from Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. Beijing has mostly supported the view wildlife on sale at the market carried the virus that then jumped to humans.
The government has yet to test any of the animals at the market, however, according to The Epoch Times.
In an article that was updated on Thursday, the dissident news service said China does not lack resources for testing animals at the market, which sold neither bats nor pangolins.
Meanwhile, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, situated 400 feet away from the market, has declined to elaborate on reports the center was testing bat coronaviruses that is a 96 percent match with COVID-19.