Continuing attempts to curb the sale of wild animals and their meat have failed to engender change at wet markets in the Asia Pacific, even as the region struggles to contain the largest and deadliest wave of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly three-quarters of emerging infectious diseases that spread to humans originate in animals.
The SARS virus, for example, which killed 800 people between 2002 and 2004, is thought to have started in bats before spreading to civets at a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Foshan.
In April, after its investigative team in China concluded a seafood market in Wuhan was the most likely route by which COVID-19 first jumped to humans, WHO took the unprecedented move of urging countries to pause the sale of captured wild mammals at wet markets as an emergency measure.
Ian Lloyd Neubauer