Vietnam has banned the import of wildlife and wildlife merchandise to scale back the danger of latest pandemics.
The transfer additionally bans wildlife markets for such objects, together with on-line gross sales.
Vietnam has beforehand been accused of turning a blind eye to the sale of merchandise equivalent to pangolin scales and rhino horns typically utilized in conventional drugs.
Scientists have lengthy warned that the wildlife trade can be an incubator for disease.
The origins of the present Covid-19 pandemic are thought to lie within the wildlife commerce, with the illness rising in bats and leaping to folks by way of one other, as but unidentified, species, which might embrace rats, civets and pangolins.
“The prime minister orders the suspension of imports of wildlife – lifeless or alive – their eggs… elements or derivatives,” stated the order launched on Thursday on the Vietnamese authorities web site.
“All residents, particularly officers… should not take part in unlawful poaching, shopping for, promoting, transporting… of unlawful wildlife.”
The nation can even “resolutely remove market and buying and selling websites which commerce wildlife illegally”, the order stated.
Conservationists welcomed the transfer.
“Vietnam is to be congratulated for recognising that Covid-19 and different pandemics are linked to the wildlife commerce,” stated Steven Galster, chairman of the anti-trafficking group Freeland.
“This commerce should be banned as a matter of worldwide and public well being safety,” he added.
However, one group stated the ban didn’t go far sufficient.
“The wildlife consumption ban talked about within the directive is inadequate as some makes use of of wildlife equivalent to medicinal use or wild animals being saved as pets are usually not coated,” stated Nguyen Van Thai, director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife.
In February, a dozen conservation teams despatched a joint letter urging the federal government to “determine and shut markets and different areas the place unlawful wildlife is on sale”, Reuters information company stories.
After being hit laborious by earlier epidemics, Vietnam imposed an in depth, early lockdown and has reported no coronavirus deaths.