Coronavirus: Vietnam bans wildlife commerce over pandemic threat

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Wildlife merchandise embody pangolin scales that are utilized in conventional drugs in China and Vietnam

Vietnam has banned the import of wildlife and wildlife merchandise to cut back the chance of recent pandemics.

The transfer additionally bans wildlife markets for such objects, together with on-line gross sales.

Vietnam has beforehand been accused of turning a blind eye to the sale of merchandise comparable to pangolin scales and rhino horns usually utilized in conventional drugs.

Scientists have lengthy warned that the wildlife commerce might be an incubator for illness.

The origins of the present Covid-19 pandemic are thought to lie within the wildlife commerce, with the illness rising in bats and leaping to folks by way of one other, as but unidentified, species, which may embody rats, civets and pangolins.

“The prime minister orders the suspension of imports of wildlife – useless or alive – their eggs… elements or derivatives,” mentioned the order launched on Thursday on the Vietnamese authorities web site.

“All residents, particularly officers… should not take part in unlawful poaching, shopping for, promoting, transporting… of unlawful wildlife.”

The nation may also “resolutely remove market and buying and selling websites which commerce wildlife illegally”, the order mentioned.

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Media captionScientists imagine one other pandemic will occur throughout our lifetime

Conservationists welcomed the transfer.

“Vietnam is to be congratulated for recognising that Covid-19 and different pandemics are linked to the wildlife commerce,” mentioned Steven Galster, chairman of the anti-trafficking group Freeland.

“This commerce should be banned as a matter of worldwide and public well being safety,” he added.

Nevertheless, one group mentioned the ban didn’t go far sufficient.

“The wildlife consumption ban talked about within the directive is inadequate as some makes use of of wildlife comparable to medicinal use or wild animals being stored as pets usually are not lined,” mentioned Nguyen Van Thai, director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife.

In February, a dozen conservation teams despatched a joint letter urging the federal government to “establish and shut markets and different areas the place unlawful wildlife is on sale”, Reuters information company experiences.

  • How ‘overreaction’ made Vietnam a virus success

After being hit exhausting by earlier epidemics, Vietnam imposed an in depth, early lockdown and has reported no coronavirus deaths.