China has banned the consumption and trade of wild animals in an effort to stop the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The Chinese government committee, backed a proposal Monday "prohibiting the illegal wildlife trade, abolishing the bad habit of overconsumption of wildlife, and effectively protecting the lives and health of the people," the AFP news agency reported. The ban is effective immediately.
China Central Television reported that the coronavirus outbreak had brought to light "the prominent problem of excessive consumption of wild animals, and the huge hidden dangers to public health and safety."
The virus is believed to have originated at an animal market in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province.
In China, wild animals are used for food, fur and traditional medicines.
There are 1.5 million markets and online sellers nationwide that offer products made from wild animals.
Jinfeng Zhou, of China Biodiversity, Conservation and Green Development Foundation, an environmental group in Beijing, said the business is very lucrative.
"The profit is huge … like drugs," he said.
From now on, the Chinese people are banned from selling, buying and eating wild animals.
The ban will relate to wild animals which the country protects due to their ecological, scientific, and social importance, those bred in captivity, and animals protected by the existing legislation including the Wildlife Protection Law.
Coronavirus has killed over 2,700 people in nearly 80,000 cases. Many of the first victims were working at the Huanan wholesale market, where animals, including snakes, pangolins and bats, were sold.
The virus has since spread to over two dozen countries and territories, including Europe, the U.S., Japan, and Egypt.
The World Health Organisation reports that 70 per cent of global disease-causing pathogens discovered in the past 50 years came from animals.