U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the United States has called on China to permanently close its wildlife wet markets, citing links between those markets and zoonotic diseases. All together around 200 diseases, listed by World Health Organisation (WHO) incluing COVID-19, Ebola, Zika, plague, rabies, and many others.
The new coronavirus is believed to have emerged in a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has spread around the world killing over 180,000 people and infecting over 2.6 million.
“Given the strong link between illegal wildlife sold in wet markets and zoonotic diseases, the United States has called on the People’s Republic of China to permanently close its wildlife wet markets and all markets that sell illegal wildlife,” Pompeo said in a statement late on April 22.
Chinese wet markets trade in various animals, including wild or exotic, those have been linked to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases.
One of many such places has been Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, believed to have played a fatal role in the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, although investigations into whether the virus originated from non-market sources are ongoing as of April 2020.
Wet markets were banned from holding wildlife in China in 2003, after the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak which was directly tied to those dangerous practices of selling and consuming wildlife. Such regulations were lifted before being put into place again in 2020, with other countries proposing similar bans. The visitors of the markets buy wildlife not only for food, but also for the other types of consumption as manufacturing traditional medicines, which are integral part of modern Chinese culture.