Viet Nam action could help reduce pandemic risks and protect wildlife

Posted on 24 July 2020

In what could be a positive new step towards tackling future pandemics, we welcome stronger controls on the illegal trade and consumption of wildlife introduced by the Prime Minister of Viet Nam.

COVID-19 is just the latest in a long line of zoonotic diseases, which jump from animals to humans. So, after urging and support from WWF and others, we are pleased to see action by Viet Nam to help stop people coming into contact with wildlife that have a high risk of spreading disease. This includes the closure of illegal wildlife markets and wild meat shops and restaurants, together with stricter controls of farmed wild animals.

If properly implemented, these could also help to protect sustainable livelihoods within many communities and safeguard a variety of endangered animals such as tigers and elephants.

This is a great step forward. But, of course, we recognize that there needs to be broader global action. And we also know that the ongoing destruction of forests and other natural areas must also be tackled to help prevent people coming into contact with high-risk wildlife.

WWF Director General Marco Lambertini said: “We must urgently recognize the links between the destruction of nature and human health, or we will soon see the next pandemic. We must work with nature, not against it.”