Wet markets that sell bats, monkeys, and other exotic animals are still operating on the doorstep of Australia, despite the same operations that have likely triggered the worst pandemic in over a century.
Animal markets, which remain popular in much of Asia, have been in the spotlight since January, when Chinese officials said COVID-19 most likely jumped from animals to humans in Wuhan’s Huanan market.
The virus is believed to originate from horseshoe bats and was transmitted to humans, despite unsubstantiated theories that it was accidentally released from a laboratory in Wuhan.
The virus has since killed more than 211,000 people worldwide and infected more than three million.
In response to the global pandemic, China has temporarily banned the sale of all wildlife, but wet markets selling live fish and poultry have reopened.
In Indonesia, one of Australia’s closest neighbors with a population of 267 million people, he seems even less concerned about the risks of wet markets.
A supplier that prepares python meat for its customers in the Tomohon market in northern Sulawesi, Indonesia
A man buys meat in the Khlong Toei wet market despite fears of spreading the COVID-19 corona virus in Bangkok on April 14
Scientists say that wet markets are “time bombs” for pandemics because it is easier for viruses to pass from one to another if a series of species are kept in one place.
Australian Chief Veterinary Officer Mark Schipp said that since 1980, six major diseases, including IDS, SARS, Swine Flu, MERS, Ebola, and COVID-19, were from wild animals.
“If you put wild animals on such a market, they will be stressed and they will release more virus in body fluids; stool, blood, urine, ‘he said The Australian.
“Usually, they wash away once or even several times a day, making the virus aerosol and spreading the chance between species.”
Despite the warnings, Indonesian health authorities said they would not force the wet markets to close.
A seller selling bats at the Tomohon Extreme Meat Market on Sulawesi Island, Indonesia
The country’s spokesperson for the country’s COVID-19 task force, Achmad Yurianto, said on Tuesday that the decision to close ‘extreme’ markets should come from local authorities rather than government health directors.
Although Siti Nadia Tarmizi, director of zoonosis at the Ministry of Health, admitted that the markets needed to be closed, he explained that the ministry focuses on eliminating human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.
Tomohon’s wet markets in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, partner with customers eager to buy meat despite the pandemic.
The Australian reported that rows of dead bats were spotted on bloody butcher’s lists next to scorched pig heads and dog carcasses this weekend.
A salesperson who admitted that he had struggled to make ends meet since the pandemic started, explained that he had no choice but to continue selling “extreme meat.”
The fresh market of Khlong Toei in Bangkok, Thailand. Some markets in Asia still operate despite COVID-19
Dogs are traded in traditional markets in Tomohon, Indonesia. Despite the global pandemic, the market is still operational
“We are concerned about health, but we have to keep showing up for work. What can we do but sell meat as usual? ‘ he said.
Live bats were hung in cages in the Jatinegara markets in the capital of Jakarta along with monkeys, civets and snakes.
The World Health Organization supported the reopening of China’s wet markets as long as wildlife trade was banned, noting that millions of people depend on the food and income markets.
“The WHO’s position is that if these markets are to be reopened, they should only be provided they meet stringent food safety and hygiene standards,” said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom on April 17.
A seller cuts up a large hose at the Tomohon Extreme Meat Market on Sulawesi Island
A seller who offers grilled rats to customers in the Tomohon market in northern Sulawesi
“Governments must strictly enforce wildlife sales and trade for food.”
Despite WHO statements, the Australian government and the US government called for permanent closings of wet markets around the world to protect public health.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described WHO’s support for reopening as “unfathomable.”
But experts told Daily Mail Australia that it would be extremely difficult to ban the markets because China is against the idea and determined to maintain its sovereignty.
“There is no chance that what we are saying will have any impact,” said Jane Goolley, a professor at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.
A man with a mask walks through a wet market in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, on April 20
“We will only enrage the Chinese government because they object so strongly to foreign interference.”
President Xi Jinping often refers to sovereignty – the right of a state to govern its own territory – when defending China’s maritime claims in the East and South China Sea, or the internment of Muslims in “re-education camps” in Western China.
He described sovereignty as the ‘main characteristic of any independent state ‘and strongly opposes foreign involvement in Chinese affairs.
For that reason, former Australian ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, said that a ban would be possible, but only if all countries of the world agreed.
All countries – the US, Australia and China – want to protect and defend sovereignty.
Scott Morrison has “no chance” of banning wet markets, a leading academic said. Picture: a bat on a wet market in Indonesia
“The only way to achieve such a thing is through international consensus,” he said.
Chinese media say wet markets are being reopened to alleviate retailers’ economic difficulties.
Markets similar to the farmers’ markets in the West exist across China, including major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
Only a minority of the markets sell live wildlife. When they do, the animals are usually live chickens, ducks and other poultry.
China, a nature farm, is worth $ 18 billion and supports 6.3 million people, many of whom have no income after the ban.
It comes when the trade of the Chinese and Australian governments overthrows Mr. Morrison’s driving force to investigate the origins of the coronavirus.
The dispute peaked on Sunday when the Chinese ambassador to Canberra proposed that Chinese consumers boycott Australian goods such as beef and wine.