China is currently dealing with the outbreak of a contagious deadly coronavirus that has killed more than 17 people so far. It is believed that the virus originated from animals and they could have been the primary source of the outbreak. Now, new reports state that local Chinese media houses have suggested that koalas were being sold in Chinese meat markets ahead of coronavirus outbreak.
According to local media reports, koalas were one of the animals available at the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, which is the epicentre of the highly contagious virus. The seafood market in Wuhan is currently under investigation and has been labelled as 'ground zero' by the authorities. The World Health Organisation earlier reported that the Huanan seafood market was closed down on January 1, 2020, for environmental sanitation and disinfection.
Earlier reports suggested that the original source of the virus is a snake, more specifically, the Taiwanese Krait or the Chinese Krait which is a highly venomous species of elapid snake found in much of central and southern China and Southeast Asia.
China has reportedly said that the number of coronavirus cases has jumped to nearly 547 as the contagious disease has affected an estimated 2,200 people in the country. According to international media reports, the virus has spread to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Singapore.
While the disease is mainly concentrated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, there have been two reported cases in Thailand and one in Japan. According to media reports, worldwide cases have risen to 555 since the outbreak was detected in December last year.
Airports across the world are distributing health declaration forms along with face masks and antiseptic wipes. India, United Kingdom, United States, and other countries are screening passengers coming from mainland China and Hong Kong at various airports. The coronavirus is being compared to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), an epidemic that killed 650 (disputed) people back in 2002-03.
(With inputs from Agencies)