Coronavirus: China to Ban Trade in Wild Animals and Tighten Grip on Wet Markets
The Wuhan coronavirus most likely kick-started from locals eating infected wild and exotic animals such as bats and snakes in a wet market.
Now, over 400 people have died because of the virus, and more than 20,000 people worldwide are infected in over 23 countries.
China is cracking down on the matter and said it will ban illegal wildlife markets and trade in the nation.
Spreading from a wet market
Experts have stated they believe the deadly coronavirus started in a wet market in the city of Wuhan, China. Live and dead animals are typically sold for food or medical remedies and are not kept in optimal conditions.
Coronavirus has thrust China's wildlife trade into the spotlight; media often perpetuates the idea that eating wild animals is a megascale Chinese cultural phenomenon.— Natasha Daly (@natashaldaly) January 29, 2020
The reality is more nuanced. Many Chinese citizens want to ban it forever. My story:https://t.co/GgLKO3YBsG
The most powerful body of the Chinese Communist Party, the Politburo Standing Committee, issued a statement on Monday acknowledging its "shortcomings" in how it first responded to the outbreak of the 2019 coronavirus.
The Committee added that it will "severely crack down" on illegal wet markets and trade: "It is necessary to strengthen market supervision, resolutely ban and severely crack down on illegal wildlife markets and trade, and control major public health risks from the source."
A zoonotic disease
As a zoonotic disease, the Wuhan coronavirus originated from animals, and World Health Organization (WHO) experts believe it stemmed from bats.
Over 70% of emerging infections in humans are believed to derive from animals, in particular, wild ones. "We are coming into contact with species of wildlife and their habitats that we were not with before," Dr. Ben Embarek, with the department of nutrition and food safety at the WHO, told the BBC.
Dr. Embarek continued "We are suddenly exposing ourselves to totally new viruses we have never been in contact with in the past. Therefore, we have a number of new diseases linked to new contacts between humans and previously unknown viruses, bacteria, and parasites."
Huge opportunity for #China to evaluate and develop a system to monitor #wildlife trade. The idea of consuming bushmeat in this century is fundamentally wrong on many fronts. It’s time for China to rethink the role of wildlife - it can't only be for food. https://t.co/MU9giOsYqG— Kaddu Sebunya (@AWFCEO) January 30, 2020
Not only with China's ban on wild animal trade assist in curbing future, and current, diseases, it will also provide the country a chance to prove its seriousness in protecting biodiversity. It may save the lives of many endangered species around the world.