Experts call for legislation and trade deals worldwide to encourage green recovery
Pandemics such as coronavirus are the result of humanity's destruction of nature, according to leaders at the UN, WHO and WWF International, and the world has been ignoring this stark reality for decades.
The illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade as well as the devastation of forests and other wild places were still the driving forces behind the increasing number of diseases leaping from wildlife to humans, the leaders told the Guardian.
They are calling for a green and healthy recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular by reforming destructive farming and unsustainable diets.
A WWF report, also published on Wednesday, warns: "The risk of a new [wildlife-to-human] disease emerging in the future is higher than ever, with the potential to wreak havoc on health, economies and global security."
WWF's head in the UK said post-Brexit trade deals that fail to protect nature would leave Britain "complicit in increasing the risk of the next pandemic".
High-level figures have issued a series of warnings since March, with the world's leading biodiversity experts saying even more deadly disease outbreaks are likely in future unless the rampant destruction of the natural world is rapidly halted.
Earlier in June, the UN environment chief and a leading economist said Covid-19 was an "SOS signal for the human enterprise" and that current economic thinking did not recognise that human wealth depends on nature's health.
"We have seen many diseases emerge over the years, such as Zika, Aids, Sars and Ebola and they all originated from animal populations under conditions of severe environmental pressures," said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, head of the UN convention on biological diversity, Maria Neira, the World Health Organisation director for environment and health, and Marco Lambertini, head of WWF International, in the Guardian article.
With coronavirus, "these outbreaks are manifestations of our dangerously unbalanced relationship with nature", they said. "They all illustrate that our own destructive behaviour towards nature is endangering our own health – a stark reality we've been collectively ignoring for decades.
The WWF report concludes the key drivers for diseases that move from wild animals to humans are the destruction of nature, the intensification of agriculture and livestock production, as well as the trading and consumption of high-risk wildlife.
WHO stops hydroxychloroquine trial
The World Health Organization has halted the trial test of the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus.
According to the WHO recent trials showed that the anti-malaria drug does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalised Covid-19 patients, reports Al-Jazeera.
"Patients who have already started hydroxychloroquine but who have not yet finished their course in the trial may complete their course or stop at the discretion of the supervising physician," the WHO statement said.
Trump says coronavirus will 'fade away' even without vaccine
The coronavirus pandemic will "fade away" even without a vaccine, but researchers are close to developing one anyhow, President Donald Trump said, reports Bloomberg.
"We're very close to a vaccine and we're very close to therapeutics, really good therapeutics," Trump said Wednesday night in a television interview with Fox News. "But even without that, I don't even like to talk about that, because it's fading away, it's going to fade away, but having a vaccine would be really nice and that's going to happen."
Kazakh leader Nazarbayev has coronavirus
Kazakhstan's 79-year-old former president and official 'Leader of the Nation' Nursultan Nazarbayev has tested positive for the coronavirus, a statement on his official website said.
"Currently, the First President of Kazakhstan is in self-isolation. Unfortunately, the last test... for the coronavirus infection showed a positive result. There is no cause for concern," the statement said.
Honduran president hospitalised for Covid-19
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, is undergoing treatment in hospital for pneumonia after he tested positive for Covid-19 this week, Reuters news agency reported quoting a government spokesperson.
Francis Contreras, a spokesperson for Honduran health agency SINAGER, said that while Hernandez needed specialised medical care in a military hospital, including receiving medicines via intravenous drip, he is generally in good health.