Source: Libreville – AFP
On Friday, Gabon banned the sale or eating of pangolins (bats eaters) and bats, on suspicion of being behind the emergence of the emerging coronavirus in China, as these two types of mammals are of great importance in traditional medicine.
Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba announced that the government plans to close the capital Libreville, revealing an emergency aid package for those affected by the epidemic.
It is believed that the Corona virus came from bats, but scientists suggest that it has spread to humans via another animal.
The scaly anteater is considered to be an endangered animal and has been protected for some time, but it is sold in Libreville markets like bats, and their flesh is well known among the population.
Forests cover 88 percent of this central African country, and hunting and wild animal meat have always been part of the way of life there.
The Ministry of Water and Forests said the novel Corona virus “is a mixture of two different viruses, one close to the bat and the other from antskin artifact,” claiming that its information was taken from a scientific study published in the “Nature” magazine.
The ministry added that Gabon reported 21 cases of Covid-19 disease.
“The authorities made a similar decision when our country was affected by the Ebola virus, as it banned the eating of primate mammals,” Forest Minister Lee White said.
The squamous anteater is the most smuggled animal in the world, and it is also called the mother of cinnamon. The animal is sold at high prices on the black market where it is used in traditional Chinese medicine, although doctors say it has no curative value.
Gabon has instituted a set of measures such as stopping international flights, closing schools and night curfews to stop the spread of the virus.
Bongo said on Friday that Libreville would be closed “in the coming days”, without mentioning a specific date.