Vietnam bans imports of wild animals to reduce risk of future pandemics

Vietnam has banned all imports of wild animals, dead or alive, and announced a crackdown on illegal wildlife markets as part of efforts to reduce the risk of future pandemics such as Covid-19.

By Rebecca Ratcliffe. Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd.

In February, 14 conservation organisations in Vietnam sent a joint letter warning the government that “new viruses will continue to move from wildlife to people while illegal wildlife trade and wildlife consumption continue”.

A directive issued by the country’s prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, halts the trading of wild species, as well as animal products such as eggs, organs or body parts. It also calls for tougher action against people involved in illegal hunting, killing or advertising of wild animals.

The United Nations’ biodiversity chief, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, has called for countries to ban wildlife markets, which are seen by many to be a driver of zoonotic diseases. The Chinese government has introduced a temporary ban on such markets, where animals are sold in often cramped and unhygienic conditions.

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