Following orders given by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development must draft a plan to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals across the country by April 1. The move comes after 14 non-profit organizations—including Pan Nature, the World Wildlife Fund (WFF), Animals Asia Foundation, and Save Vietnam Wildlife—demanded that the country ban the wildlife trade to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and future outbreaks. “The lesson from SARS and now COVID-19 are clear: new viruses will continue to move from wildlife to people while illegal wildlife trade and wildlife consumption continue,” the organizations collectively said in a letter sent to the Prime Minister last month. COVID-19 is believed to have originated from a live animal market in Wuhan, China, most likely through human contact with bats. Last month, China announced it would permanently ban the wild animal trade in its own efforts to curb the spread of disease.

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