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January 23, 2020

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City moves fast to stem the spread of coronavirus

In a heightened fight against a new virus possibly linked to wild animals, Shanghai has decided to cancel live poultry markets from January 25 to April 30, the online edition of Xinmin Evening News  reported yesterday.

In Shanghai, nine people have been confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus. Nationwide more than 400 such cases have been confirmed. 

The first case was reported last month in Wuhan, central China’s  Hubei Province, but the source of the novel coronavirus remains unclear.

On January 20, Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and head of a national expert team  investigating the pneumonia cases, said the virus possibly came from certain wild animals.

In Wuhan, a major seafood market suspected to be a scourge of such a virus has been shut down. That market, near which first patients were identified, was found to have hawked various wild animals in addition to seafood.

Shanghai’s decision to temporarily shut down all markets trading live poultry testifies to the metropolis’ determination to leave nothing to chance. After all, we are what we eat. If there’s a 1 percent possibility of “eating” the new virus into our lungs, we should be 100 percent vigilant about what we can eat.

Due vigilance is the best possible “medicine” in the face of an outbreak of a novel virus.  We can never be too alerted.

The online edition of the People’s Daily on Tuesday published a commentary, saying scientific and orderly measures are in place to ease public concerns. A while ago, however, some patients in Wuhan had not been effectively restricted within safety zones, and some planned large-scale group activities should have been postponed on day one, noted the commentary.

To be sure, it takes time for even health experts  to understand how a new virus evolves. Judgment is certainly adjusted overtime. But, as the People’s Daily commentary pointed out, we should never be “boldly opportunistic” at any time.  Indeed, we’d better “err” on the side of overcaution.

In addition to curbing the contagion in this time of emergency, Shanghai has taken a step further by restricting what we eat at the very source.

History has proven that eating wild animals does lead to outbreaks of novel viruses.

An ordinary man often pampers his tongue too much at the cost of his health. So it falls within a city’s responsibility to rectify an irrational crowd behavior.


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