The origins of the current Covid-19 pandemic are thought to lie in the wildlife trade, with the disease emerging in bats and jumping to people via another, as yet unidentified, species, which could include rats, civets and pangolins.
“Vietnam is to be congratulated for recognising that Covid-19 and other pandemics are linked to the wildlife trade,” said Steven Galster, chairman of the anti-trafficking group Freeland.
“This trade must be banned as a matter of international and public health security,” he added.
However, one group said the ban did not go far enough.
“The wildlife consumption ban mentioned in the directive is insufficient as some uses of wildlife such as medicinal use or wild animals being kept as pets are not covered,” said Nguyen Van Thai, director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife.
In February, a dozen conservation groups sent a joint letter urging the government to “identify and close markets and other locations where illegal wildlife is on sale”, Reuters news agency reports.