Koalas Were Being Sold In China Ahead Of Coronavirus, According To Reports
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China is believed to be at the epicentre of the highly contagious coronavirus which has left 17 people dead and many more infected.
It is believed that animals could be the suspected primary source of the outbreak and now reports have suggested that koalas were being 'circulated' in China.
South China Morning Post listed koalas as one of the animals available to be purchased, with wider reports suggesting that they could have been sold at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan which is currently under investigation and has been labelled 'ground zero' by local authorities.
A list of prices for different items is said to include live foxes, crocodiles, wolf puppies, snakes, peacocks and koalas.
According to the MailOnline, the menu shows a price of 70 RMB for koala meat which equates to £7.69 or $10.10 USD.
The World Health Organisation reported that The Huanan Seafood Market was closed on 1 January 2020 for environmental sanitation and disinfection.
The virus has been noted for to its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people back in 2002-2003.
According to The Mirror, international flights to Heathrow Airport now include air crew observation of passengers, similar to steps taken by Australia and the US to identify potential carriers before they arrive at their destination.
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Gao Fu, director of the Chinese centre for disease control and prevention, explained in a report published by Rappler: "We already know that the disease originated from a market which conducted illegal transaction of wild animals.
"This might be the cause, so the disease could be on an animal, and then passed on from this animal to a human."
He added that it was clear the virus is 'adapting and mutating'.
According to a report, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been in regular and direct contact with Chinese authorities, as well as those in Japan, the Republic of Korean and Thailand, since the reporting of these cases.
These authorities have shared information with the WHO under international health regulations. The organisation is also informing other countries about the situation and providing support as requested.
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: News, coronavirus, Animals, China