China is facing pressure globally to crack down on its so-called wet markets, where produce and live animals are often sold together. Scientists have speculated that the current coronavirus outbreak in humans might have begun at a market in the city of Wuhan. One hypothesis is that the virus could have jumped from bats to pangolins to people, in turn causing a global health emergency.
As the virus spread in January, China responded by slapping a ban on the trade and consumption of wildlife. Some of the markets were also temporarily closed. In the months since, they’ve been reopening – with new restrictions. But analysts say it’s not yet clear whether China will really clamp down on what’s being sold inside in the long run.
It’s unclear how many markets were affected by the ban on trading wildlife. But experts estimate that the markets selling live wild animals like pangolins before the outbreak could have numbered in the hundreds.
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