Downing Street backs calls for China to enforce ban on wet markets where coronavirus came from – The Sun
Both China and Vietnam banned the markets which sell live and dead animals for people to eat – but they have continued to trade as the deadly virus grips the world.
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China has allowed the wildlife trade to continue after the World Health Organisation gave the green light for the markets to reopen, despite their own country-wide ban.
But No10 said today they would be pushing China to do more to put a stop to the practice.
A spokesperson said: "We want to see them enforce that ban.
"That includes banning wildlife markets, banning the sale of wildlife in wet markets and taking strong action against anyone who does.
"Wet markets can be a high risk environment for transmission of viruses from animals to humans.
"They have announced a ban, we want to see them enforce it."
The global pandemic is believed to have first started at a wet market in Wuhan.
Boris Johnson's fiancé Carrie Symonds announced yesterday she had signed a petition calling for an end to the trade.
The petition called on governments around the world to recognise "the urgency to prevent future pandemics, warrants the permanent end to the commercial trade and sale in markets of terrestrial wild animals (particularly bird and mammals) for consumption".
China has previously brought in bans because of epidemics and then relaxed them.
After the SARS outbreak in 2003, which, like COVID-19, was traced to a wet market, China put a ban on markets and the wild-animal trade industry.
But only months after the WHO declared the SARS virus contained, China lifted the ban.
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Aili Kang, from the Wildlife Conservation Society, told The New Scientist China would have to legislate the ban for it to be effective.
She said: "If it's not the law, it won't be permanent.
"If it is into the law, it will be further force for enforcement and provide a legal foundation for the government to further educate people and change their behaviour."
Director General of the WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said they were working on improving hygiene standards in wet markets.
He said: "When these markets are allowed to reopen it should only be on the condition that they conform to stringent food safety and hygiene standards."
"Governments must rigorously enforce bans on the sale and trade of wildlife for food."
He added: "An estimated 70 per cent of all new viruses come from animals, we also work together closely [with the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, of the United Nations] to understand and prevent pathogens crossing from animals to humans."
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