Biodiversity: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th June 2020.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to published academic research on the link between destruction of natural habitats and the emergence of novel infectious diseases, what assessment he has made of the value of protecting biodiversity as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I refer to the answer I gave on 1 May 2020 (PQ 38461).

The Department has not yet made a full assessment of the link between the destruction of biodiversity and habitats on levels of emerging zoonoses. The recent 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on biodiversity and ecosystem services highlights this as a factor potentially exacerbating the emergence of infectious diseases in wildlife, domestic animals and people. We are continuing to review the evidence and the complex links between the destruction of natural habitats and infectious diseases, to enable us to take an informed view as soon as possible.

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