Koalas, bats, wolf pups sold at Chinese virus market

KOALAS have been identified as one of the many animals sold for human consumption in the Chinese market linked to the deadly coronavirus virus outbreak.

According to Hong Kong based publication, South China Morning Post, koalas, peacocks, Chinese giant salamanders, wolf pups and rats are among the many animals sold at the Wuhan wholesale seafood market linked to the outbreak.

The 'explainer' video posted by SCMP:

Animals are suspected to be the primary source of the outbreak, with studies published this week suggesting the virus may have originated in bats or snakes.

The market has since been closed by health officials.

So far 17 people have been confirmed to have died from the virus and the infected are being transported in isolation boxes or tubes while doctors are collapsing in hospitals, according to news.com.au.

The coronavirus causes acute respiratory infection, according to the World Health Organisation with symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Chinese authorities have locked down multiple cities, home to more than 18 million people in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly coronavirus.

In Australia, koalas are a protected species and their population has been decimated by the recent bushfires across the east coast.

There are fears the species will be wiped out by 2050.