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COVID digest: WHO urges ban market sale of live wild animals

April 13, 2021

The World Health Organization has recommended halting sales of live wild animals to avoid transmitting diseases. Australia will not buy J&J vaccine. England starts Moderna rollout. Follow DW for the latest.

Indian Zibets (Civet cats).
The WHO said markets where wild animals are held or slaughtered pose risk for disease transmission to workers and customersImage: Ling/ROPI/picture alliance

The World Health Organization on Tuesday called for a halt in the sale of live wild mammals in food markets to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. 

The WHO had earlier concluded, in a joint study with China, that the coronavirus was likely transmitted from bats to humans via a third animal.

"Animals, particularly wild animals, are the source of more than 70% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses," said the WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health and the United Nations Environment Programme in a statement. 

"Wild mammals, in particular, pose a risk for the emergence of new diseases," the statement added.  

While the WHO recognized how traditional markets provide food and livelihoods for large populations, it recommended that "banning the sale of the animals can protect people's health — both those working there and those shopping." 

The latest on variants 

The coronavirus variant first identified in Britain, known as B117, does not cause more severe cases in hospitalized patients, according to a study published in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases

The study found no evidence that people infected with the B117 had worse symptoms. But it concluded that the variant was indeed associated with a higher viral load and reproduction rate than other variants.


Germany recorded 10,810 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, raising the total number of cases to 3,022,323, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) confirmed. 

The RKI reported that the country's death toll rose by 294 to 78,746. The federal government is expected to launch efforts to centralize the country's coronavirus response.

England will start using the Moderna vaccine at over 20 vaccination sites on Tuesday, the National Health Service (NHS) said.

"The Moderna rollout marks another milestone in the vaccination program. We now have a third jab in our armory," NHS medical director Stephen Powis said in a statement.

At least 27 million people in England have received their first jab, according to NHS. England has used the AstraZeneca vaccine and the BioNTech-Pfizer to immunize its population. 


Australia has decided against buying the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine as it avoids procuring vaccines under review over blood clots, authorities said on Tuesday. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Tuesday the J&J vaccine was similar to the AstraZeneca product, which Australia is already contracted to buy.

Both vaccines trigger an immune response against coronavirus by using an adenovirus, a class of common-cold viruses. 

"The government does not intend to purchase any further adenovirus vaccines at this time," a health ministry spokeswoman told Reuters news agency.

Australian authorities on Tuesday have identified a second case of a rare blot clot likely linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. 


India has authorized the use of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the health ministry said on Tuesday. 

The decision comes as India hits a record number of daily cases, with 161,736 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, according to Reuters data. 

Hong Kong announced that fully vaccinated residents could soon be allowed to form "vaccination bubbles" to socialize in larger groups during the pandemic, as part of incentives to encourage more people to receive the jab.

The city's leader Carrie Lam said it would soon establish a travel bubble with Singapore as cases have been declining since a surge in November. 

fb/aw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)