China bans wildlife trade amid novel Coronavirus outbreak
Marje Pelayo • January 28, 2020 • 647
China on Saturday (January 26) has imposed a nationwide ban on the trade of wildlife until the outbreak of novel coronavirus is eliminated across the country.
This new restriction includes transport and trading of any form of wildlife, specifically in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms.
Experts blame the country’s eating habits as the possible cause of the current epidemic.
China is known for its bizarre custom of eating wild and exotic animals ranging from peacocks, snakes, civet cats, wolves, rats, and bats which health experts consider as ‘incubators’ for viruses that may evolve or mutate and spread to humans often in unhygienic conditions.
These wild animals are also made available on online shops in China.
As of Monday (January 27), China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported a total of 1975 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus with a death toll of 80.
So far, the outbreaks’ epicenter, Wuhan City, remains on lockdown along with 19 other cities across Central China.
Health authorities in Beijing, through a text message sent to mobile phone users in Wuhan City, urged people not to shake hands as the common Chinese greeting.
Instead, the public is advised to salute using a traditional cupped-hand gesture.
As the whole world is struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic, one of the unexpected outcomes for Chinese people is more clean skies.
China had a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide pollution in cities like Beijing during February, when factories and streets were closed as authorities attempted to stop the spread of the virus, according to the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus satellite image.
Analysis by Greenpeace shows that the pollutant emissions in Beijing and its surrounding areas dropped by more than 40% year-on-year in February.
Compared to previous years, the air in the capital has seen a big improvement during the outbreak. Streets and landmarks are no longer covered in smog.
Beijing resident Liu Chuan takes this as a potential health benefit, saying that he could even see stars at night after work.
“It feels like the air is overall much less polluted than it used to be. It also improves people’s mood, and indirectly strengthens the immunity. It’s good for fighting the virus,” added Liu.
However, expert warns the air pollution and carbon emissions may soon reappear as Chinese factories are ramping up output in an effort to offset the economic hit of coronavirus.
“We can’t rule out the possibility that it may cause air pollution frequently if a large scale of high-polluting industries resume production,” said Lyn Liu, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner. (Reuters)
China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of a coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said on Friday (April 3).
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.
Mainland China reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 29 of which were imported from overseas, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday.
The total number of infections now stands at 81,620 and 3,322 deaths have been reported from mainland China to date. (Reuters)
A massive forest fire in southwestern China has killed 19 people, according to a state media report on Tuesday (March 31).
Eighteen firefighters and a local guide were confirmed dead, from a group of 21 firefighters who went to fight the blaze that had spread over more than 1,000 hectares of land near Xichang, a city in Sichuan province.
The fire started on a farm on Monday (March 30) afternoon and quickly spread to nearby mountains due to strong winds, according to local reports.
Flames and heavy smoke were seen drifting into the sky, posing a threat to a nearby town — including a gas storage station about 70 meters away from parts of the fire.
“This place (the gas station) is by far the most dangerous place in this forest fire in Xichang,” said Zhang Shanhu, a member of the local fire and rescue team.
Police have evacuated more than 1,200 people from the area, and local authorities have organized over 2,000 people to fight the blaze. (Reuters)
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