As reported by SandraRose, bat soup is a delicacy in some areas of China. The city of Wuhan is where the first case of the coronavirus was identified earlier this month, and bats are among the wild animals sold at fish markets in the capital of Hubei province — the most populous city in Central China,
Consuming cooked bats was reportedly popularized recently by a TV host, who has been forced by the Chinese government to apologize after she cooked and ate a bat on her TV show called “Beauty Eats Bats.”
In the clip, the host reportedly apologizes to her viewers and urges them to wash their hands often – the recommended way to prevent the spread of the virus.
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【“吃蝙蝠”視頻瘋傳 當事人：為自己的無知道歉】隨著新型冠狀病毒感染的肺炎疫情消息不斷從“一線陣地”傳來，被研究認為是病毒自然宿主的蝙蝠，引起網友關注。近日，一段上線於2016年6月的“美女吃蝙蝠”視頻被網友扒出，女主持也因吃蝙蝠而被網友聲討。 22日，涉事主持汪某表示為自己曾經的無知道歉。 pic.twitter.com/sNeEPuCjbU
— 人民日報 People’s Daily (@PDChinese) January 25, 2020
Meanwhile, researchers sponsored by Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Sciences found the coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan is closely related to a strain that exists in bats.
“Bats being the native host of the Wuhan CoV (coronavirus) would be the logical and convenient reasoning, though it remains likely there was intermediate host(s) in the transmission cascade from bats to humans,” the researchers from several institutions in China wrote in the paper, per IBITimes.com.
That study did not specifically name which animal could have been an “intermediate host,” but a second study published in the Journal of Medical Virology believes snakes are the “most probable wildlife animal reservoir.”
The Chinese government has closed 14 cities and canceled air travel and public transportation. According to Reuters, the country’s state planning agency will invest 300 million yuan ($43.5 million) for the construction of hospitals in Wuhan that will serve affected patients (said to be in the thousands). One of the hospitals will open on Feb. 3.
Up to 90,000 people are estimated to be infected with the virus in China, and over 50 have reportedly died, including one doctor.