Sky News reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for a ban on the sale of live wild animals in food markets. This statement came after a visit to Wuhan, China, after scientists identified a local market as the origin of the coronavirus.

Source: WION/YouTube

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The United Nations agency urged countries to suspend the sale of live animals in food markets and shared that wild animals are the leading source of viruses and infectious diseases, including coronavirus. The WHO’s new guidance said that wild animals “are the source of more than 70 percent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses.”

The report reads, “Wild mammals, in particular, pose a risk for the emergence of new diseases. They come into markets without any way to check if they carry dangerous viruses. There is a risk of direct transmission to humans from coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucus, feces, or other body fluids of an infected animal, and an additional risk of picking up the infection from contact with areas where animals are housed in markets or objects or surfaces that could have been contaminated with such viruses.”

While the exact origin of the coronavirus pandemic isn’t determined, research has focused on speculation that it was carried by bats and passed to humans by an intermediary animal.

“Globally, traditional markets can play a central role in providing food and livelihoods for large populations,” WHO said in a statement, “Banning the sale of the animals can protect people’s health — both those working there and those shopping there.”

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Dr. Maria van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s technical response said in a news conference that multiple avenues to ending the pandemic include vaccines and additional public health and social measures.

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