US Urges Southeast Asian Nations to Close Wildlife Wet Markets

Sandra Loyd

The United States appealed to Southeast Asian countries Thursday to closed down all wet markets unlawfully offering wildlife, stating such trading locations had actually been connected to animal illness communicable to people, as Washington revealed it had actually launched $353 million in local help to battle the coronavirus break out.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the appeal after contacting China to completely close its wildlife wet markets, consisting of those in its main city of Wuhan, where health professionals state COVID-19 may have come from in 2015 prior to the infection contaminated more than 2.6 million people around the world and eliminated more than 186,000 others.

“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,” Pompeo stated in a declaration, referring to a significant complex of stalls that offer live fish and where wild animals are frequently butchered right on the facilities.

“I call on all ASEAN governments to do the same,” he stated.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang turned down Pompeo’s accusations, informing press reporters in Beijing that “there’s no ‘wildlife wet market’ in China.”

“Instead, we have farmers’ markets and seafood markets where meat, fish, vegetables, seafood and other fresh produce are sold. A very small number of them sell live poultry,” he stated. “Such markets are commonplace existence not only in China, but also in many Southeast Asian countries and a lot of developing countries.”

US help to ASEAN

Pompeo brought out the declaration hours prior to participating in an online conference on Thursday (Jakarta time) with foreign ministers from the 10- member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Pompeo stated Washington had actually launched more than $353 million in emergency situation health financing to assist the local bloc combat the infection. That quantity was on top of the $3.5 billion in public health support that the United States had actually offered countries in the area throughout the past 20 years, he stated.

Southeast Asia has actually tape-recorded a few of the highest variety of COVID-19 infections, with the flourishing city-state Singapore reporting 1,037 in brand-new cases on Thursday, taking its cumulative cases to 11,178

At the online conference with his ASEAN equivalents on Thursday, Pompeo stated the United States had actually launched $3 million for Indonesia, which has actually up until now validated 7,775 cases with 647 casualties.

Throughout the video-conference, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi advised countries to put aside political distinctions to create international cooperation to battle the coronavirus.

“It is important that countries work together to overcome the shortcomings that are still faced by many, especially in terms of medical and protective equipment and medicines,” Retno stated.

Pompeo likewise informed his Southeast Asian equivalents that Beijing was making the most of the world’s fixation with the coronavirus pandemic to enhance its aggressive claims in the South China Sea.

“Even as we fight the outbreak, we must remember that the long-term threats to our shared security have not disappeared,” he stated. “In fact, they’ve become more prominent.”

The video-conference individuals primarily “reaffirmed their collective resolve to prioritize strengthening their public health systems” and “cooperating in research and development of vaccine and therapeutics,” according to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

However Locsin stated in a declaration that his equivalents likewise revealed issues “over recent developments in the South China Sea that increased tensions at a time when all efforts and resources are focused on battling the pandemic.”

“They recognized the importance of contributing to the maintenance of peace, security, stability, and the rule of law in the region amid the fight against COVID-19,” he stated. “This is essential at a time when countries must not only navigate the COVID crisis, but must also prepare a post-pandemic plan of social and economic recovery.”

The Philippines has actually tape-recorded 6,981 COVID-19 infections with 462 deaths since Thursday.

US thanks Malaysia for sending out gloves

Throughout the conference, Pompeo thanked Malaysia, along with Cambodia and Vietnam, for their assistance in the pandemic battle and for assisting in the continued circulation of crucial medical products into the United States.

Malaysia helped with the fast shipment of over 1.3 million kgs of gloves for U.S. healthcare employees, he stated.

Kuala Lumpur extended its COVID-19 travel curbs on Thursday by 2 weeks, although Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin stated more business sectors might be permitted to resume operations.

Malaysia, which has actually up until now reported a cumulative tally of 5,603 coronavirus cases with 95 deaths, began a partial lockdown on March18 The extension of its so-called motion control order would last up until May 12, Muhyiddin stated.

“Should the number of COVID-19 cases show significant reduction, the government may ease curbs on movement in stages in several sectors including the social sector,” Muhyiddin stated in a telecasted address.

Bangladesh, which has actually reported 4,186 coronavirus infections since Thursday, with a death toll of 127, has actually likewise revealed a comparable extension of motion curbs up until May 5.

Pompeo announces US- ASEAN health effort

Pompeo likewise revealed throughout the video conference the development of the U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures effort, which would be utilized as a platform to boost efforts in health security through research study.

He stated the United States was making an extra promise of about $270 million to help the most at-risk countries in battling the coronavirus. He did not elaborate.

Washington was currently associated with training more than 70,000 pharmacists throughout Indonesia “so they can provide good advice and referrals” for coronavirus clients, he added.

A day previously, throughout a news conference, Pompeo likewise slammed China for not sharing “all of the information it had” about the coronavirus.

“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,” he stated, highlighting that Beijing’s rejection to share samples of the infection from within the nation with the outside world made it “impossible to track the disease’s evolution.”

Geng Shuang, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, explained Pompeo’s declarations as “lies that discredit China’s anti-epidemic efforts.”

“Facts speak louder than words,” he stated. “China has taken timely, swift and efficient epidemic prevention and control measures in an open, transparent and responsible manner.”

Internationally, nearly 2.7 million infections from the coronavirus have actually been tape-recorded while the death toll stood at more than 188,400 since Thursday, according to information put together by illness professionals at U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Reported by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

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