China's top legislative committee on Monday passed a proposal to ban all trade and consumption of wild animals, a practice believed responsible for the country's deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Beijing is yet to revise its wild animal protection law, but the passage of the proposal was 'essential' and 'urgent' in helping the country win its war against the epidemic, wrote state newspaper People's Daily.
Experts believe that the new coronavirus has been passed onto humans by wildlife sold as food, especially bats and snakes.
People's Daily said the new policy 'comprehensively bans the consumption of wild animals' and 'will impose heavier punishment' against offenders.
The official Xinhua news agency said the proposal was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).
'It aims to completely ban the eating of wild animals and crack down on illegal wildlife trade,' it said.
The report added that the measure was aimed at 'safeguarding public health and ecological security'.