Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Previous investigations found that the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome was transmitted from civet cats to humans, while the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome passed from dromedary camels to humans.
“Therefore, as a general rule, the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided,” said the World Health Organization in a statement. “Raw meat, raw milk or raw animal organs should be handled with care to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.”
The statement came a few days before China’s legislature took action to curb the trade of wildlife and consumption of all wild animals. Full details are available on the web site of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (in Chinese).
“Humans and nature are part of one connected system, and nature provides the food, medicine, water, clean air and many other benefits that have allowed people to thrive,” said Doreen Robinson, Chief of Wildlife at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).