In an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Abu Dhabi is closing down its open markets selling fish, meat, and vegetables.
According to the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, the closure will last for an initial period of two weeks. Markets working with companies like food outlets and supermarkets can remain open.
There are currently more than 150 cases of coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates. Citizens are advised to stay home as much as possible to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s now present in more than 190 countries.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused many major businesses around the world to close indefinitely. Earlier this week, fast-food giants McDonald’s and KFC announced a shutdown on all locations across the UK.
Paul Pomroy, the CEO of McDonald’s UK, said in a statement: “It has become clear that maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy takeaway and Drive-Thru restaurants is increasingly difficult.”
The Link Between Coronavirus and Animals
Many experts believe that the novel coronavirus originated in a live animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan toward the end of 2019. Bats or pangolins are possible sources.
But scientists say humans have to take responsibility for the pandemic.
Andrew Cunningham, a professor of Wildlife Epidemiology at the Zoological Society of London, told CNN: “If [animals] are being shipped or held in markets, in close proximity to other animals or humans, then there is a chance those viruses are being shed in large numbers.”
Per The Guardian, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, there were 20,000 wildlife farms in China, breeding animals like porcupines, peacocks, and pangolins. Following the outbreak, China placed a ban on the wildlife trade.
It’s not a problem exclusive to China. Humans breed animals for food all over the world. Poultry and pigs can cause zoonotic disease outbreaks too. In Africa, the bushmeat trade is also a threat to human health. Malawi banned the sale and consumption of bushmeat last week.
“With motorized transport and planes you can be in a forest in central Africa one day and in a city like central London the next,” added Kate Jones, the chair of ecology and biodiversity at University College London.
“Any spillover you might have had before is magnified by the fact there is so many of us,” she continued. “And we are so well connected.”