Tue 13 April 2021:
The World Health Organization on Tuesday called for a halt to the sale of live wild mammals in food markets to prevent the spread of disease.
The statement comes after a WHO team visited Wuhan in China to investigate the origins of COVID-19.
The most likely scenario is that the virus originated in bats, was spread to another unidentified animal, and then passed on to humans, a WHO report said in March.
The organisation said in a separate report on Tuesday that animals, “particularly wild animals”, are the source of more than 70% of emerging infectious diseases in humans.
The report states: “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, faeces, 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.”
The closest-related viruses to COVID-19 have been found in bats in southwest China.
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