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  • File photo of a baby Sunda pangolin and its mother.

    File photo of a baby Sunda pangolin and its mother. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 24 February 2020

The move came as wild animals are largely believed to be the source of the novel coronavirus.

China's top legislature adopted Monday a decision to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals in an attempt to safeguard people’s lives and health.

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The move came in a bid to safeguard biological and ecological security and prevent major public health risks, as wild animals are largely believed to be the source of the novel coronavirus.

According to the decision, the consumption of wild animals "of important ecological, scientific and social value" including those that are bred or reared in captivity, will be thoroughly prohibited.

The hunting, trading, and transportation of animals that naturally grow and breed in the wild for the purpose of consumption will be completely prohibited.

Violation of the decision and other existing laws related to the consumption of wildlife will lead to heavy penalties, the decision stipulates.

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It also states that the use of wild animals for non-edible purposes, including scientific research, medical use, and display, will be subject to strict examination, approval and quarantine inspection procedures.

Trade and consumption of wild animals -a multibillion-dollar industry that employs millions of people in China- have aroused huge public concerns following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, as experts suggested wild animals are likely to be the source of the virus.

The new coronavirus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, has killed more than 2,600 people and infected more than 79,500 worldwide.

It has spread to more than two dozen countries, but nearly 99 percent of the deaths and infections have been reported in mainland China.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, mainly because of fears that the virus could spread to countries with weaker health systems.

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