Photographs show a wet market in Indonesia still operating, selling dogs, cats and bats despite the coronavirus outbreak
The animals were seen being sold by vendors at a wet market in northern Indonesia that is known for trading in the meat of exotic wildlife despite government and global pressure to shut down due to links to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Breaking News Today has previously covered stories involving such wet markets amid coronaviurs links, including when the Chinese city of Shenzhen became the first to legislate a ban on the trading and consumption of certain animals, including cats and dogs.
Vendors at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island say that their business is unaffected by links to the virus, this is despite government and health agencies urging vendors to take bats and other wildlife off the market.
One vendor selling bats said:
“It [the coronavirus] has not affected sales. In fact… sales continue. It is always sold out.
“My customers still keep coming,” he added.
Research suggests that COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China, could have potentially originated from bats in such wet markets selling wild animals before the novel coronavirus then being passed on to humans.
The controversial wet markets in Wuhan were back to trading last week as rate of COVID-19 in the Chinese city has reportedly began to drop and the city to reopen gradually, while the rest of the world battles to contain the deadly pandemic that originated in the city.
Last week, the UK government, as well as governments across the world, called for China to enforce more strict bans in regard to wet markets.
A Downing Street spokesperson has said: “We want to see them enforce that ban.”
“That includes banning wildlife markets, banning the sale of wildlife in wet markets and taking strong action against anyone who does.”
“Wet markets can be a high risk environment for transmission of viruses from animals to humans.”
“They have announced a ban, we want to see them enforce it.”
After the SARS outbreak in 2003, which, like COVID-19, was traced to a wet market, China put a ban on markets and the wild-animal trade industry.
But only months after the World Health Organisation declared the SARS virus contained, China proceeded to lift the ban.
Director General of the WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:
“When these markets are allowed to reopen it should only be on the condition that they conform to stringent food safety and hygiene standards.”
“Governments must rigorously enforce bans on the sale and trade of wildlife for food.”
He added: “An estimated 70 per cent of all new viruses come from animals, we also work together closely [with the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, of the United Nations] to understand and prevent pathogens crossing from animals to humans.”
Joko Widodo, the President of Indonesia, has also been criticised for for not enforcing a complete nation-wide lockdown or enacting any strict social distancing measures throughout the country.
Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, which is the epicentre of the country’s infections, has put in place stricter social distancing measures than elsewhere in the country where unrestricted movement continues.