The US government’s advice to its citizens not to travel to China is, to some, prejudice rather than judgment. Screening of passengers leaving China would be a reasonable step to contain the spread of the coronavirus. But expert opinion was that total border shutdowns were ineffective, Rosie Spinks wrote in the New York Times earlier in February.

When the US suffered a particularly severe flu outbreak in 2017-2018, with an estimated 45-million cases and 61,000 deaths, no-one suggested banning travel. “Time and time again, destinations perceived as ‘Western’ benefit from a kind of cultural familiarity and presumption of safety that so-called foreign or exotic places do not,” she wrote.

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