Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity has called for a global ban on wildlife markets, The Guardian reported on Monday.

Mrema has called for countries across the nation to put a permanent ban on markets selling meat acquired from wildlife such as the wet market in Wuhan, China, the original epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The UN biodiversity chief urged countries to ban such markets in a bid to curb future pandemics as it is believed that the coronavirus pandemic that has taken the world by a storm had originated at Wuhan’s meat market selling wild meat, the report said.

According to media reports, the first victim of the coronavirus pandemic is a 57-year-old Wei who was a shrimp seller in the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. Wei is believed to be patient zero of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the Wall Street Journal had reported.

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission had confirmed that Wei was among the first 27 patients to test positive for Covid-19 and one of 24 cases directly related to the market.

Mrema further cited examples of the Ebola epidemic in west-central Africa and the Nipah virus in east Asia stating that there were clear links between new human illnesses and destruction of wildlife.

China had issued a temporary ban on its wildlife markets dubbed “wet markets” where animals such as civets, live wolf pups and pangolins are kept on sale in filthy conditions where they are bound to contract diseases that can then further be passed on to human populations. Scientists and experts have also urged Beijing to make the ban permanent.

Recently, controversy had emerged on China’s meat markets after a Bloomberg report had said that the country was likely to reopen its wet markets.

US Senator Lindsey Graham had also tweeted about China looking to repone its markets saying that he had discussed it with US’ virology expert Anthony Stephen Fauci who had called the idea “crazy”.

“Just spoke with Dr. Fauci on a conference call about China's decision to reopen their wet markets. He emphatically stated this was a crazy decision by China which puts the world's health at risk,” Graham had tweeted.

Over 1.2 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported across the globe with the death toll surpassing 69,000 according to reports.