Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C,. and Chris Coons, D-Del., and a group of bipartisan senators on Thursday “urgently” requested that China “immediately” close all operating wet markets that have been linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter obtained by Fox News, Graham and Coons urged Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai to close the markets to “protect” the world from “additional health risks.”
“We write to urgently request that China immediately close all operating wet markets that have a potential to expose humans to health risks through the introduction of [zoonotic] disease into the human population,” the pair wrote, citing Gao Fu, the director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, who said “the origin of the new coronavirus is the wildlife sold illegally in a Wuhan (China) seafood market.”
“It is well documented that wet markets in China have been a source of a number of worldwide health problems, and their operation should cease immediately so as to protect the Chinese people and the international community from additional health risks,” they wrote, Fox News reported. They added China should also play “an important role” by “urging other countries to do the same.”
Graham and Coons’ letter to the Chinese ambassador comes after Graham and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and another group of bipartisan senators urged World Health Organization officials to ban and immediately close wet markets around the world.
Booker and Graham cited scientists who estimate approximately 60-75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic and that approximately 72% originate from wildlife. They also noted that “in the past 45 years, at least five pandemics have been traced back to bats.”
The positive cases of COVID-19 globally has surpassed 1.58 million, with more than 94,000 deaths, Fox News reported.
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