Wuhan, the Chinese city that was the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, has finally banned the consumption and hunting of wild animals. Many experts have attributed the spread of the deadly virus to the city's wet market.
The Chinese government released a new regulation on its website on Wednesday, May 20, banning the consumption of wild animals, hunting of wild animals, and illegal wildlife trade.
The local administration in the Chinese city on Wednesday, said that in addition to consumption ban, Wuhan would become a 'wildlife sanctuary' where virtually all hunting of wild animals was banned. However, there are exceptions for "scientific research, population regulation, monitoring of epidemic diseases and other special circumstances".
The ban includes all the terrestrial animals listed on national and Hubei provincial preservation pages, along with animals in the wilderness and some aquatic wild animals. Stringent controls on breeding or rearing animals for consumption have been introduced by the authorities.
Housed by 11 million people, Wuhan reported the first patient infected by COVID-19 last year. On January 1, Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, the suspected ground zero of the virus, that sells 30 different species of wildlife animals including bats, pangolins, snakes, wolf pups, golden cicadas, scorpions and civets and domesticated animals like cats and dogs was shut down.
The market was shut after several research reports suggested that the virus came through bats. However, some reports later suggested that the virus came through pangolins.
Coronavirus has infected over five million people globally. Of this, over 3,28,000 have died and about 1.9 million people have recovered. Several countries are under complete lockdown and suffering huge economic crises.