WHO shifts its position on Chinese wet markets
The World Health Organisation is backing away from its previous advice that Chinese wet markets do not need to close, with its COVID-19 envoy saying they are a “real danger”.
The UN body’s Western Pacific headquarters had previously told The Australian that it would not advocate for the closing of the markets — blamed for the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan — as they were sources of livelihood and food security.
HANG THIS FUCKING BASTARD!
But amid growing outcry over the advice, WHO special COVID-19 envoy David Nabarro told the BBC that wet markets were a threat.
“We don’t have the capacity to police the world. Instead, what we have to do is offer advice and guidance, and there’s very clear advice from the Food and Agriculture Organisation and WHO that said there are real dangers in these kinds of environments,” he said.
“75 per cent of emerging infections come from the animal kingdom. It’s partly the markets, but it’s also other places where humans and animals are in close contact. Just make absolutely certain that you’re not creating opportunities for viral spread.”
A spokesman for the WHO Western Pacific headquarters earlier told The Australian:
“WHO does not advocate to prohibit wet markets because they are a source of livelihood to many people and a source of food security to many people. But it is necessary to regulate them and introduce measures to decrease the risk of transmission of diseases at them. With adequate facilities, proper regulation and good hygiene practices it is possible to have safe food sold in wet markets,” he said.
“In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have engaged directly with China’s National Health Commission to advocate safety improvements at wet markets and safety precautions that wet market workers should take. We’ve also been advising the public about safe food preparation and safety precautions at wet markets.
“The Government of China banned the trade of wildlife and strengthened hygiene standards in local wet markets in February. It is WHO’s understanding that these laws continue to be enforced through provincial and municipal authorities under Central Government oversight”