Majority Vietnamese averse to wildlife markets as source of Covid-19: survey

By Dang Khoa   April 8, 2020 | 12:43 am PT
Majority Vietnamese averse to wildlife markets as source of Covid-19: survey
A man holds a pangolin at a wild-animal rescue center in Cuc Phuong, outside Hanoi, Vietnam, September 12, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
A study published by World Wildlife Fund on World Health Day, April 7, found 88 percent of Vietnamese extremely worried about the novel coronavirus.

The survey, commissioned by WFF and conducted by GlobeScan consultancy between March 3-11, randomly interviewed around 1,000 Vietnamese across different age groups nationwide and around 4,000 in Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar and Thailand to measure and understand opinions on what support looks like for the closure of all illegal and unregulated wildlife markets during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It found in Vietnam citizens expressed the highest level of concerns about the global health crisis, followed by Thailand (86 percent), Myanmar (79), Hong Kong (78) and Japan (76).

As for Vietnam, the survey found 96 percent of respondents are aware of the pandemic and 68 percent said it significantly impacted their daily lives, including jobs, livelihood, income and medical insurance.

A vast majority of respondents, 94 percent, believe visiting wildlife markets is the major mode of transmission and 90 percent support the government closing illegal and unregulated markets selling wildlife.

Nearly three-quarters of Vietnamese, 73 percent, agree closure of wildlife markets would be effective in preventing similar outbreaks in future. In addition, 91 percent of participants are likely to support official efforts to close all illegal and unregulated wildlife markets.

When looking at consumption, 82 percent stated they are unlikely or very unlikely to buy wildlife products in illegal and unregulated markets in future. However, it pointed out four in ten intended buyers are persistent and continue to consume wildlife products during the new coronavirus outbreak.

Overall, 72 percent of respondents in all five markets claim never to have consumed wildlife products. 84 percent said they would be very unlikely or unlikely to buy wildlife products in open wildlife markets in future, with Hong Kong expressing the highest aversion at over 90 percent.

83 percent of Vietnamese participants and 80 percent from all markets claimed they worry a similar pandemic outbreak could occur in future if no tougher regulations are put in force.

WWF lauded Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for ordering the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in coordination with relevant ministries, to draft an urgent directive to strictly ban illegal wildlife trade and consumption in the country in early March.

Latest additions have brought the national infection tally to 251. Of the cases, 122 have been discharged.

The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 82,000 lives after it hit 209 countries and territories.

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