Footage shows the controversial pet market in Thailand today (March 12) that scientists believe could have triggered the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thousands of live exotic animals including turtles, snakes, fish, rats, lizards, spiders meerkats and rabbits are sold at the popular Chatuchak Market in the capital Bangkok.
It has previously been slammed by animal rights groups for the appalling conditions in dark and cramped dirty alleyways.
Danish media claimed last month that the market – which would have been visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists a week – could even be the source of the coronavirus before it spread to China.
Politiken newspaper claimed that Danish epidemiologist Thea Kolsen Fischer, who was on a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) research mission to China, had connected Southeast Asia to the source of the virus.
Chinese state media supported the theories from WHO that the virus was spawned from neighbouring Southeast Asia.
While Russian news agency Sputnik claimed a similar strain of the new coronavirus found in bats in Thailand appeared to resemble Sars-CoV-2. They said the horseshoe bats from a cave in eastern Thailand were found to carry a new coronavirus RacCS203 that matches the one that causes Covid-19.
However, Thai government officials refuted the claims that Covid-19 came from Chatuchak Market.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said it had tested wildlife claimed to have contained the virus that causes the disease and found no connections.
Director Thanya Netithammakul said there were no traces in the animals of the Sars-CoV-2 virus. He said that studies from the country’s Chulalongkorn University had found virus found in Thai bats does not cause any illnesses in humans.