The World Health Organization called for a halt to the sale of live wild mammals in markets to prevent the emergence of new diseases.
The WHO said that while traditional markets play a central role in providing food and livelihoods, banning the sale of live wild mammals could protect the health of market workers and shoppers.
It said some of the earliest known cases of COVID-19 had a link to a wholesale food market in Wuhan, China, with many of the initial patients stall owners, market employees or regular visitors to the market.
The interim guidance was drawn up alongside the World Organisation for Animal Health and the United Nations Environment Programme.
It said, “Animals, particularly wild animals, are the source of more than 70 percent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans.”
It also called on governments to close sections of food markets selling live wild mammals unless adequate risk assessments were in place.