Wet markets where live animals are sold, slaughtered and skinned, as customers browse the stalls, have reopened across China.
Terrifying scenes of animal cruelty are being recorded throughout the Asian country as it returns to normality following the lockdown.
The Wuhan wet market, has been widely blamed as the source of the virus, which has killed thousands of people across the world, and will continue to take the lives of many more.
A pangolin infected by bats is widely believed to be the source of the outbreak.
Previous killer diseases SARS and bird flu were traced to similar sites and China has now banned the sale and consumption of wildlife to “safeguard public health and ecological security”, under orders from President Xi Jinping.
Yet multiple species are still being crammed together, slaughtered and sold in filthy conditions, contaminated with blood and faeces, at countless markets in other Asian countries.
Experts believe Asia’s wildlife markets, where live animals are flogged as exotic pets or butchered for food, are a “ticking time bomb” for new deadly pandemics.
China had banned their wet markets, but that ban has now been lifted, with experts worried this could create huge problems going forward.
Speaking before the Chinese markets reopened Steve Galster founder of Freeland, a Bangkok-based anti-trafficking group warned: “Wuhan is a major wake-up call – mother nature’s revenge.
“The way to prevent further outbreaks is to stop the trade. China has put in place a ban, but this needs to be permanent as it is the biggest importer of wildlife in the world.
“Most wildlife is trafficked by gangsters. This is not a regulated trade, so no wonder there are infections and viruses spreading.
“HIV, SARS and bird flu all came from animals and now this one too. These markets are ticking time bombs.”