China just banned the trade and consumption of wild animals. Experts think the coronavirus jumped from live animals to people at a market.

5e27e42462fa8151df510983The closed Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, on January 12.

 

China’s wildlife-farming industry, valued at $74 billion, has been permanently shut down.

On Monday, the nation’s legislature banned the buying, selling, and eating of wild animals in an effort to prevent zoonotic diseases from jumping from animals to people.

The novel coronavirus, which has killed at least 2,700 people, is thought to have been transmitted to humans by pigs, civets, or pangolins at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China.

“There has been a growing concern among people over the consumption of wild animals and the hidden dangers it brings to public health security since the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak,” Zhang Tiewei, a legislative spokesman, told Reuters Monday.

Zhang added that the decision came at a “critical moment for the epidemic prevention and control.”

No buying, selling, or eating wild animals in China

5e54174bfee23d39cd7e0525A wet market in Dandong, Liaoning province, China.

 

Officials closed the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market on January 1, and Wuhan authorities banned the live-animal trade at all markets in the city soon thereafter.

A few weeks later, Chinese authorities temporarily banned the buying, selling, and transportation of wild animals in markets, restaurants, and online marketplaces across the country. Farms that breed and transport wildlife were also quarantined and shut down. The ban was expected to stay in place until the coronavirus epidemic ended, Xinhua News reported. But now it’s permanent.

Much of China’s wildlife trade, according to experts, was already illegal: China’s Wildlife Protection Law bans the hunting and selling of endangered species but doesn’t apply to all wild animals. But the practice persisted because of lax enforcement and legal loopholes, such as inconsistencies in species’ names and online sales of exotic wildlife as pets.

Before the new ban was instated, the Chinese Communist Party announced plans to crack down on illegal wildlife markets and trade across the country, recognizing “shortcomings” in its response to the outbreak.

5e541846fee23d3abf48ddc4A vendor sells bats at a market in Sulawesi, Indonesia, on February 8.

 

Shuttering a multibillion-dollar industry

China’s wild-meat industry is valued at $7.1 billion and employs 1 million people, Nature reported. The value of the larger wildlife-farming industry is closer to $74 billion, according to a 2017 report by the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

“A total ban on trading wild animals would criminalize a substantial proportion of the Chinese population, and be untenable,” Zhao-Min Zhou, a Chinese wildlife-policy researcher, told Nature. He added that shuttering animal markets would just move the trade to the black market.

Since the outbreak began, Chinese authorities have shut down 20,000 farms raising peacocks, civet cats, porcupines, ostriches, and wild geese, The Guardian reported.

But many experts support this type of intervention to help prevent the spread of viruses.

“The government has signaled that it wants to take immediate action to prevent any future outbreaks of diseases that spread from animals to humans,” Li Zhang, a conservation biologist at Beijing Normal University, told Nature. He added that wildlife trade and consumption represented a direct threat to animals and a major public-health risk.

That’s because the close proximity of shoppers and vendors to live and dead animals at wet markets creates a breeding ground for zoonotic diseases.

“For cultural reasons in the region, people want to see the specific animals they’re buying be slaughtered in front of them, so they know they’re receiving the products they paid for,” Emily Langdon, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Chicago, wrote in an article. “That means there’s a lot of skinning of dead animals in front of shoppers and, as a result, aerosolizing of all sorts of things.”

75% of emerging infectious diseases come from animals

Three-quarters of new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bats harbor a significantly higher proportion of zoonotic viruses than other mammals. They pass them along in their poop: If a bat drops feces onto a piece of fruit that another animal then eats, that creature can become a carrier.

Genetic evidence suggests that the new coronavirus almost certainly originated in bats, which passed it to another animal. The virus then jumped from that animal to people at a wildlife market. SARS (which is caused by a coronavirus) originated in bats too, then jumped to civets, which passed it to people in a Chinese wet market. The SARS coronavirus infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774 between 2002 and 2003.

Experts still aren’t sure which animal species served as the new coronavirus’ intermediary between bats and people. Many possibilities have been floated, including snakes (which is unlikely), pigs, civets, and pangolins — endangered mammals that are roasted and eaten in China, Vietnam, and parts of West Africa and whose scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

5e541901fee23d3b9f48aee3A pangolin at a wild-animal-rescue center in Cuc Phuong, Vietnam, in 2016.

 

Pangolins were the most trafficked nonhuman species in the world in 2013, according to National Geographic. The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species declared pangolin trade illegal in 2016.

The trade and consumption of pangolins was already illegal under China’s Wildlife Protection Law.

China hints at denying Americans life-saving coronavirus drugs

5e664fe73cebf.imageIn this photo taken Tuesday, March 3, 2020, a worker stands near Chinese national flag and propaganda which reads “Go China” in Beijing. As the rest of the world grapples with a burgeoning virus outbreak, China’s ruling Communist Party has turned to its propaganda playbook to portray its leader as firmly in charge, leading an army of health workers in a “people’s war” against the disease. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

 

Now that the number of new people infected with the coronavirus in China is slowing down, the country’s Communist Party is ratcheting up threats against the West, with a particularly nasty warning about access to life-saving drugs aimed at the United States.

In an article in Xinhua, the state-run media agency that’s largely considered the mouthpiece of the party, Beijing bragged about its handling of COVID-19, a virus that originated in the city of Wuhan and has spread quickly around the world, killing nearly 5,000 people and infecting thousands more. The article also claimed that China could impose pharmaceutical export controls which would plunge America into “the mighty sea of coronavirus.”

The disturbing threats made during a global pandemic as well as the scary consequences if that threat becomes real highlight just how tight China’s grip is on the global supply chain. Already, the Food and Drug Administration has announced the first drug shortage related to the coronavirus. Though it did not disclose which drug was in short supply, the FDA did say it could not access enough raw components needed because they are made in China.

That doesn’t come as a surprise to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, who told Fox News on Thursday that America is “dangerously reliant” on China for the production of critical goods, including parts for technologies needed to fight COVID-19.

Though the United States is a global leader in research, much of the manufacturing of life-saving drugs has moved overseas. The last American manufacturing plant to make a key component in penicillin shuttered in 2004. Since then, Chinese pharmaceuticals companies have moved in and taken over, supplying between 80 percent and 90 percent of U.S. antibiotics, 70 percent of acetaminophen and about 40 percent of heparin, according to Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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If China makes good on its threat to cut off the United States, Rubio believes the results could be crippling.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide on Thursday went up to 124,518, up from 118,162 cases the day before. In China, there are 80,980 confirmed cases. Italy saw a 22.7 percent jump to 12,462 from 10,149. Iran is hovering close to a 12 percent increase while cases in Qatar jumped 991 percent to 262 cases from 24. In the United States, there are more than 1,300 confirmed cases spread across 44 states and the District of Columbia.

AP20071304999896People wearing protective face masks wait in a queue to get temperature check before entering a bank in Beijing, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. For most, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for a few, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia.  (AP)

 

As the rest of the world scrambles to contain the virus and protect its citizens, China has been busy casting itself in the role of global hero going so far as to demand a thank you for containing the virus as long as it did.

“We should say righteously that the U.S. owes China an apology, the world owes China a thank you,” an editorial in Xinhua read.

Rubio said Beijing’s comments should concern all Americans and that China is keenly aware that in a moment of crisis “they can threaten to cut us off from our pharmaceutical supplies, they could trigger a domestic problem here that would make it difficult or us to confront them.”

“It’s a tremendous amount of leverage,” Rubio said.

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Coronavirus ‘whistleblower’ nurse says China has 90,000 sick

 

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The coronavirus now has a whistleblower — a nurse in Wuhan who insists in a shocking online video that close to 90,000 people in China have the disease, far more than the 1,975 reported by officials.

“I am in the area where the coronavirus started,” her video begins. Wuhan is the epicenter of the outbreak.

“I’m here to tell the truth,” the anonymous nurse says in the video, which shows her wearing a full-head face mask.

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“At this moment, Hubei province, including the Wuhan area, even China, 90,000 people have been infected by a coronavirus.”

She does not reveal how she arrived at the sobering statistic.

The video has been viewed on YouTube some 2 million times, the Daily Mail reported.

Other horrifying videos have shown dead bodies covered in sheets lying in hospital hallways.

 

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China Threatens to Impose Trade Sanctions on Kenya over Ban on Chinese Fish

China has threatened to impose trade sanctions on Kenya over a directive issued by President Kenyatta banning fish imported from China.

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Li Xuhang describes the ban as a “trade war”, warning that his country will respond in the same way it did when US President Donald Trump introduced similar policies.

Among the options China is considering against Kenya over the ban is withholding funds meant for completion of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Naivasha to Kisumu, Daily Nation reports.

The deal for this stretch of the SGR project was expected to be signed when President Uhuru traveled to China in September but was delayed, with China citing a hostile internal environment in Kenya, especially negative press reports and attacks from politicians.

Kenyatta is expected to return to China next month to sign several bilateral trade agreements.

A few weeks ago, the President directed government officials to use every means including tricks to ensure Chinese fish does not enter Kenya. This was after local traders complained that cheap fish from China has affected their businesses.

The threats by China come after the Department of Fisheries said no fish from China will be allowed to enter Kenya from January 1st, 2019.

“This is to notify you that all fish import applications for Oreo chromis niloticus Tilapia will not be approved in the country with effect from January 1, 2019,” reads the letter.

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U.S. now believes Russia is behind ‘sonic attack’ on 26 embassy personnel in Cuba

Diplomatic worker in China similarly afflicted in what are now believed to have been microwave, rather than sonic, attacks

Then–Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks at a flag-raising ceremony marking the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana on Aug. 14, 2015.

Russia is believed to be behind the strange “sonic attacks” that have left U.S. diplomats with concussion-like injuries in Cuba and China, according to a report Tuesday.

Communications intercepts, known as “signals intelligence,” that point to Russia as the culprit have been collected as part of an ongoing investigation by the FBI, CIA and other agencies in the US, multiple sources reportedly told NBC News.

The evidence, though, isn’t conclusive enough to formally blame Moscow.

Twenty-six U.S. workers have been hurt in the attacks that occurred in their homes or hotel rooms beginning in 2016. Most reported hearing high-pitched sounds, leading investigators to suspect a sonic weapon.

The FBI later said sound waves alone couldn’t have caused the symptoms, which included brain injuries, hearing loss, cognitive problems, difficulty with balance and problems with vision and hearing.

A U.S. employee experienced similar symptoms following an attack earlier this summer in Guangzhou, China.

Now scientists are saying microwaves could be to blame, according to CNN.

The unexplained incidents have worsened relations between the Cuba and the U.S., which pulled out most of its diplomats from Havana and tossed 17 Cuban counterparts from Washington.

Cuba has denied any involvement, and officials there don’t believe a sonic device is to blame.

The incidents are also being probed by the State Department’s internal Accountability Review Board.

“The State Department has come to the determination that they were attacks,” the head of the board, retired Ambassador Peter Bodde, testified before Congress last week.

A source told NBC News that the U.S. has “no reason to believe this was anything but an intentional act.”

The Kremlin didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Last week, a top security official in the U.K. pointed the finger at Vladimir Putin for the deadly nerve-agent attacks that nearly killed a former Russian spy and his daughter in England.

Over 1 Million Pounds Of Rat Meat Being Sold As Boneless Wings In The USA

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A report simply released from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that a normal 1 million pounds of rat meat has been passed off as “boneless chicken wings” from China. The extemporized chicken wings have conceivably been sold in diners and markets transversely finished America throughout the latest 8 months.

rat-meat-chicken

According to reports, FDA inspectors raised stresses after a couple of unlawful transportation holders beginning from China were seized by customs at the Port of San Francisco.

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They were found to contain rat meat, wanted to be conveyed off to different meat dealing with plants transversely finished America and traded as chicken wings. The report continues saying that an immense number of pounds of unlawful meat were seized and decimated by specialists.

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The FDA alerts a normal 1 million pounds of the phony rat chicken wings may regardless be accessible for use at neighborhood stores and diners without the data of the purchasers. The FDA is encouraging customers to not purchase chicken wings with the exception of on the off chance that you think about the suppliers source.

 

CHINA DECLARES WAR ON THE UNITED STATES!

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