A directive to ban the imports of live wild animals and wildlife products among measures to take immediate effect in order to reduce the risk of new pandemics, a Vietnamese government statement said.
Vietnam bans wildlife trade as measure against new pandemics
On Thursday 23 July, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued a ban on the imports of wild animal species “dead or alive” and pledged to root out the illegal markets trading in wildlife in order to reduce the risk of new pandemics. The ban, which takes immediate effect, also prohibits illegal hunting and online sales of animals and wildlife products. The announcement has been welcomed by conservation groups who have accused the authorities of turning a blind eye to the problem, and follows an international outcry over the illegal wildlife trade, which has been blamed for causing the coronavirus pandemic that first emerged in Wuhan, China.
Vietnam wildlife trade ban welcomed by conservation groups
Vietnam has banned all imports of wild animals, dead or alive, and announced a crackdown on illegal wildlife markets as part of efforts to reduce the risk of future pandemics such as Covid-19, reported The Guardian yesterday.
A directive issued by the country’s prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, halts the trading of wild species, as well as animal products such as eggs, organs or body parts. It also calls for tougher action against people involved in illegal hunting, killing or advertising of wild animals.
The announcement has been welcomed by conservation groups, who have accused the government of failing to stop the flourishing trade in endangered species. Vietnam is one of Asia’s biggest consumers of wildlife products, and the country’s trade in wildlife – both illegal and “legal” – is thought to be a billion-dollar industry.
Neighbouring China has also pledged to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
After being hit hard by previous epidemics, Vietnam imposed an extensive, early lockdown and has reported no coronavirus deaths.
How does closing down the wildlife trade help against pandemics?
Scientists suspect that the novel coronavirus was transferred to humans from animals. It was also found that the earliest infections were traced in people who were exposed to a wildlife market in Hubei’s provincial capital Wuhan, known to sell bats, snakes, civets and other animals.
Zoonosis: In the report titled "Silence of the snares – Southeast Asia’s snaring crisis" published by WWF early in 2020, a zoonosis is described as an infectious disease caused by a pathogen – such as a virus or bacteria – that has jumped from an animal host to a human.
These account for a large proportion of overall diseases experienced by humans:
● 58% of all identified human pathogen species are known to be of zoonotic (animal) origin.
● Between 60% and 73% of emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases – those that are either new, or rapidly increasing – are known to be of zoonotic origin.31
● 71% of zoonotic diseases known to have emerged between 1940-2004, involved a pathogen with a wildlife host, as opposed to other animal hosts (e.g. domesticated animals).
● Wild-caught animals are likely to pose a higher risk of future zoonotic disease emergence than farmed animals, including farmed wildlife.
Zoonotic diseases – which include rabies, Ebola, tuberculosis, HIV, and emerging coronaviruses such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 – have had a significant impact on human health and wellbeing. The most recent and high-profile example is COVID-19, which has been the cause of hundreds of thousands of deaths, and millions of infections worldwide at the time of writing.
In April 2020, it was projected by the Asian Development Bank that COVID-19 will cause between USD2.0 and 4.1 trillion losses from the global economy, with losses of 1.0% to 2.2% of total GDP in developing Asia; a category that includes the vast majority of Southeast Asian countries.
Scientists believe another pandemic will likely happen during our lifetime
A new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic has been identified in China by scientists, report the BBC.
It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say. The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak. While it is not an immediate problem, they say, it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.
As it’s new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus. The scientists write in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that measures to control the virus in pigs, and the close monitoring of swine industry workers, should be swiftly implemented. Watch below. Source: BBC
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