China bans wildlife trade amid novel Coronavirus outbreak
Marje Pelayo • January 28, 2020 • 370
China on Saturday (January 26) has imposed a nationwide ban on the trade of wildlife until the outbreak of novel coronavirus is eliminated across the country.
This new restriction includes transport and trading of any form of wildlife, specifically in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms.
Experts blame the country’s eating habits as the possible cause of the current epidemic.
China is known for its bizarre custom of eating wild and exotic animals ranging from peacocks, snakes, civet cats, wolves, rats, and bats which health experts consider as ‘incubators’ for viruses that may evolve or mutate and spread to humans often in unhygienic conditions.
These wild animals are also made available on online shops in China.
As of Monday (January 27), China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported a total of 1975 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus with a death toll of 80.
So far, the outbreaks’ epicenter, Wuhan City, remains on lockdown along with 19 other cities across Central China.
Health authorities in Beijing, through a text message sent to mobile phone users in Wuhan City, urged people not to shake hands as the common Chinese greeting.
Instead, the public is advised to salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture.
China’s supply of poultry and egg products is likely to be hit in the second and third quarters as the coronavirus outbreak has had a severe impact on the industry, agriculture ministry official Yang Zhenhai told a State Council briefing on Tuesday (February 18).
The world’s second-largest poultry producer, China had been ramping up output to fill a meat shortage after the African swine fever epidemic, which began in 2018, decimated its pig herd.
Poultry prices have plunged this year and restrictions on moving livestock and extended holidays in many areas have paralyzed the supply chain. Farmers have been left with large inventories of birds and eggs even as demand plunged as restaurants and canteens stay shut.
Yang said that since the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to more than 1,800 deaths, live poultry markets have been closed, transportation of baby poultry and live poultry has been curtailed and slaughterhouses have been shut down. (Reuters)
The latest data provided by China on people infected with coronavirus indicates a decline in new cases, but “every scenario is still on the table” in terms of the epidemic’s evolution, the World Health Organization said on Monday (February 17).
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva that China’s detailed paper on more than 44,000 confirmed cases provided insight into the age range of infections, disease severity and mortality rates.
Asked whether the outbreak was a pandemic, Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “The real issue is whether we are seeing efficient community transmission outside of China, and at the present time, we are not observing that”.
WHO expert Sylvie Briand said the agency was working closely with Japanese authorities and the chief medical officer on the Diamond Princess docked off Yokohama on infections and evacuations, adding: “Our focus is on our public health objective that we contain the virus and not contain the people”. (Reuters)
The president of Wuhan’s Wuchang Hospital in central China’s Hubei Province, Liu Zhiming, died at the age of 51 from the novel coronavirus pneumonia, or COVID-19, on Tuesday.
Liu died at 10:54 despite all attempts made by medical staff to cure him, Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in an online statement.
Wuchang Hospital was among the first designated to treat infections related to the epidemic. Liu had led the medical staff in the fight against the virus and had made important contributions in the city’s prevention and control efforts, according to the statement.
Chinese authorities said as of February 11, more than 1,700 medical workers have been infected and six have died. (Reuters)
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