The World Health Organization says that wet markets shouldn't be shuttered, despite the possibility that they played an important role in the emergence of COVID-19.
What are the details?
In a Friday report from the Associated Press, WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek said that live animal markets are necessary to food security in certain areas and around the world, and to close them will only cause disruption.
"Food safety in these environments is rather difficult, and therefore it's not surprising that sometimes we also have these events happening within markets," Ben Embarek reasoned.
Ben Embarek added that even though wet markets can aid the spread of epidemics, the positives outweigh the risks, and the world should be more focused on improving the markets' integrity and cleanliness rather than shutting them down.
The AP reported that Ben Embarek is focused on "reducing the risk of disease transmission from animals to humans," because then the conditions of "overcrowded markets could be addressed in many cases by improving hygiene and food safety standards."
He also pointed out the importance of being able to identify "other vulnerable species" in order to prevent future outbreaks.
"We don't want to create a new reservoir in animals that could continue to create infections in humans," he added.
Ben Embarek said that the world should focus on identifying the original source for the COVID-19 outbreak before it jumps to the conclusion of closing live animal markets.
The AP writes, "[E]xtensive studies need to occur first, involving health officials carefully interviewing many of those infected in the early stages of the outbreak, to narrow down what their interactions with animals were before they fell sick."
Bloomberg reports that Ben Embarek determined that the coronavirus has emerged from bats, however, and can spread among cats. He pointed out that it remains unclear what animal may have spread the disease from humans.
The WHO has remained under the microscope after reportedly botching its initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the massive worldwide outbreak, the WHO did not call out the Chinese government when it refused to admit that it misled the global community about the virus and its method of transmission.
Search for Virus Origin Heats Up With WHO Seeking China Mission www.youtube.com