China has announced plans to permanently ban wildlife trade and to increase supervision around wet markets as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Government officials have placed a temporary ban on wildlife trade effective immediately.

The current strain of coronavirus allegedly originated at a wildlife market in Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei, and research has since uncovered links between the virus and the worlds most trafficked animal, the pangolin. Wet markets are notorious for selling live and dead animals, with few regulations.

According to Business Insider the Politburo Standing Committee, which is the most powerful group within the Chinese Communist Party, announced that it will ‘severely crack down’ on illegal wildlife trade as a result of the outbreak.

The committee said in a statement:

‘It is necessary to strengthen market supervision, resolutely ban and severely crack down on illegal wildlife markets and trade, and control major public health risks from the source,’

According to the New York Times, the national health authorities have announced that the Coronavirus death toll has risen to 636 people in China and the total number of confirmed cases is 31,161.