CORONAVIRUS | Not every Chinese in China eat exotic wildlife meat which has been linked to the novel coronavirus epidemic in that republic.
China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian, said only a small number among the community consumed such meats and the Chinese government had started inculcating an awareness of the health risks associated with eating wild animals.
The ambassador said he and his family had never eaten exotic wildlife meat.
“The Chinese government has been exercising maximum protection of the flora and fauna of China, including wild animals and plants," he said.
"But there are a few people who do have their preference of eating wild animals,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama at his office in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Bai Tian said the Chinese government made a public announcement on Jan 26, forbidding wildlife trade and urged the people to understand the health risks of eating wildlife.
According to media reports, experts from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had managed to separate a large quantity of coronavirus from the samples taken from the Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market, which also sells live animals.
This success indicates that the virus, which has spread to more than 20 countries, originates from the meat of wildlife sold at the market.
A 61-year-old man was the first person to die from the virus. According to Bloomberg, he was a regular shopper at the wet market, which sold more than seafood.
Reports indicate that vendors there sold seafood, meat, and live animals, including chickens, donkeys, sheep, pigs, foxes, badgers, bamboo rats, hedgehogs, dogs, and snakes.
They’re called wet markets because vendors often slaughter animals in front of customers.
Bai Tian said since the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese government had taken proactive and drastic measures to contain the infection, which had caused the death of over 400 people in China, so far.
“Following the outbreak, the whole of China has been mobilised to fight against this epidemic. President Xi Jinping personally commanded and made arrangements for the battle against this epidemic,” he said.
According to the ambassador, the Chinese government kicked off a comprehensive prevention and control system involving various levels — from the central government right down to the local governments — with Wuhan district and Hubei province as the focal points.
Bai Tian said he was touched by the commitment shown by all parties in dealing with the critical situation, with over 50 medical teams comprising more than 6,000 personnel from across China assisting in treating the victims.
He said the seriousness and commitment of the Chinese government in tackling the coronavirus epidemic was also proven with the building of a hospital with over 1,000 beds in only 10 days, which was regarded as a miracle. — Bernama