The United States has officially called upon China to ban wet markets such as the one in Wuhan, which has been considered as a possible launching pad for the coronavirus.
Wet markets are generally understood to be outdoor markets where merchants sell produce and animals — including exotic creatures — that are either killed for customers at the market or that customers then butcher at home.
In a statement issued in partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the markets must be closed for good.
“Given the strong link between illegal wildlife sold in wet markets and zoonotic diseases, the United States has called on the People’s Republic of China to permanently close its wildlife wet markets and all markets that sell illegal wildlife. I call on all ASEAN governments to do the same,” he said in the statement.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has also called for the elimination of wet markets.
“It boggles my mind how, when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we just don’t shut it down,” Fauci said in early April on the Fox News show “Fox & Friends.”
“I don’t know what else has to happen to get us to appreciate that,” Fauci said.
At least one Democrat has pushed back against American efforts to have wet markets banned.
“I think we need to be careful about laying all the blame on a particular cultural practice in a country that we don’t live in,” Democratic Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois said at a virtual town hall event last week, according to the Washington Free Beacon. “These viruses could hop from animals to humans, but you don’t shut that down just by shutting down a particular cultural practice that we aren’t familiar with.”
In an interview with Laura Ingraham on the Fox News program “The Ingraham Angle,” Pompeo expressed irritation with China over more than just wet markets.
“The Chinese Government hasn’t permitted American scientists to go into China, to go into not only the Wuhan lab but wherever it needs to go to learn about this virus, to learn about its origins,” Pompeo said Wednesday.
Pompeo said the Chinese have blocked efforts to gather the kind of intelligence needed to know precisely how, where and when the outbreak began. He also noted that the World Health Organization has done precious little to help make that determination.
“Look, we know it began in Wuhan, but we need to figure this out,” he said. “There’s an ongoing pandemic. We still don’t have the transparency and openness we need in China, and it is the World Health Organization’s responsibility to achieve that transparency.
“They’re not doing it; they need to be held accountable. And what’s been great is to see other countries around the world to begin to recognize the WHO’s failures as well,” Pompeo added.
Part of the issue, he noted, is that the U.S. doesn’t know for sure where the virus started. For months, the prevailing view was that it originated in the Wuhan wet market, though U.S. intelligence officials are now investigating the possibility that it may have first spread from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“[W]e don’t know precisely where it started. That’s the core problem,” Pompeo said. “China kicked out journalists. When the United States, under President Trump, tried to get in to conduct the very investigation that needs to still be undertaken — it still hasn’t been done — when we tried to do that, the Chinese denied access not only to the lab but to the wet markets, to all of the places that one would need to go to identify the original source for this virus.
“We’re still trying to get that information. We’re still seeking transparency.”
Also Wednesday, Pompeo shared his dissatisfaction with China and the WHO at a news conference.
“We strongly believe that the Chinese Communist Party did not report the outbreak of the new coronavirus in a timely fashion to the World Health Organization,” he said, later adding, “Even after the CCP did notify the WHO of the coronavirus outbreak, China didn’t share all of the information it had.”
“Instead, it covered up how dangerous the disease is. It didn’t report sustained human-to-human transmission for a month until it was in every province inside of China. It censored those who tried to warn the world, it ordered a halt to testing of new samples, and it destroyed existing samples,” Pompeo added. “The CCP still has not shared the virus sample from inside of China with the outside world, making it impossible to track the disease’s evolution.”
Author: Jack Davis
Source: Western Journal: US Calls for China To ‘Permanently Close’ Wet Markets