Chris Schulz Published

Justice Shares COVID-19 Update And Intentions To Ban Chinese Apps

Icons for the smartphone apps TikTok and WeChat are seen on a smartphone screen in Beijing. President Trump said he does not plan to support any deal to save TikTok in the U.S. that keeps China-based ByteDance as its majority owner.

Gov. Jim Justice reacted quickly to a letter requesting the ban of two social media apps from government devices.

During a COVID-19 press conference Tuesday morning, Justice announced he plans to submit a bill during the upcoming legislative session to ban all apps owned by the Chinese government from the state government.

“It’s important to keep in mind that TikTok is hardly the only threat that’s out there and millions and millions of cyber events are happening all the time and targeting all kinds of different states and everything,” Justice said.

Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, sent a letter to Justice Monday requesting a ban on downloading the Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat apps to all state-issued cell phones, laptops and other devices.

Justice said his office has already banned the apps, but other state offices have not taken the same action.

State Chief Information Officer Josh Spence praised the move to ensure the state’s tech security in an ever-changing threat landscape.

“Taking it to the next step is the right move to ensure that as a state we move together and move forward to address this threat,” he said.

COVID-19 Update

Justice and state Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh also discussed the impact of rising cases across the state.

As temperatures continue to drop, the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have continued to rise. There were 225 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state Tuesday, the highest number since September.

“I also want to take just a second to wish everybody happy holidays and please be careful as we’re seeing not only COVID circulate and increased hospitalizations, but also influenza and RSV is still an issue as well,” Marsh said.