KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Not all Chinese in China eat exotic wildlife meats, which have been linked to the novel coronavirus epidemic in the republic, says China's ambassador to Malaysia.
Bai Tian said only a small number of people consumed such meats and the Chinese government had started inculcating awareness on the health risks of eating wild animals.
He said he and his family had never eaten nor were they interested in eating exotic wildlife meats.
"It is also by law and regulations, the Chinese government has been exercising maximum protection of the flora and fauna of China including wild animals and plants.
"But of course, there are a few people who do have a preference for eating wild animals which they think are more nutritious, ” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama TV at his office here Monday (Feb 3).
Bai Tian said that on Jan 26, the Chinese government made an official public announcement forbidding the wildlife trade and urged the people to fully understand the health risks of eating wildlife.
According to media reports, experts from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had managed to separate a large quantity of coronavirus from the environment samples at Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market, which also sells live animals.
This success indicates that the virus, which has spread to more than 20 countries, originates from the wildlife sold at the market.
Bai Tian said since the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese government had taken proactive and drastic measures to contain the infection, which had caused the death of more than 400 people in China.
"Following the outbreak, the whole of China has been mobilised to fight against this epidemic. President Xi Jinping personally commanded and made arrangements for the battle against this epidemic, ” he said.
According to the ambassador, the Chinese government kicked off a comprehensive prevention and control system involving various levels - from the central government right down to the local governments - with Wuhan district and Hubei province as the focal points.
Bai Tian said he was touched by the commitment of all parties in dealing with the critical situation, with over 50 medical teams comprising more than 6,000 personnel from across China assisting in treating the patients.
He said the seriousness and commitment of the Chinese government in tackling the coronavirus epidemic was also proven with the building of a hospital with over 1,000 beds in only 10 days, which was regarded as a miracle. - Bernama