The Prince of Wales has long been an environmental campaigner on issues like organic farming and climate change. He told Sky News on June 4 that humanity was “paying the price” for the way it has treated the planet, specifically commenting on the fact that more species are going extinct all the time. He added that he is worried further pandemics may occur if this is not corrected.
Charles said: “The more we erode the natural world, the more we destroy what’s called biodiversity, which is the immense diversity of live, plant life, tree life, everything else, marine life, the more we expose ourselves to this kind of danger.
“We’ve had these other disasters with SARS and Ebola and goodness knows what else, all of these things are related to the loss of biodiversity.”
He did not explain why he thinks biodiversity is linked to pandemics like COVID-19, but is keen to have the environment at the centre of rebuilding the post-coronavirus world.
The prince added: “It’s one of the reasons that I tried to get the point across that we should have been treating the planet as if it was a patient long ago.
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“No self-respecting doctor would ever have let the situation, if the planet is a patient, reach this stage before making an intervention.
“I think we’re slightly paying the price as a result.
“But in order to prevent this happening to so many more people, this is why I’m so determined to find a way out of this.”
He added that he is especially determined to tackle this due to his own experience of contracting coronavirus.
The HIV pandemic, for example, was the result of the urbanisation of central Africa, he explained.
However, flu pandemics like COVID-19 and SARS are not caused by this so much and are more “part of the natural cycle”.
Professor Jones added: “It’s important to remember the more local level, the bushmeat trade and generally poor hygiene measures, which are equally if not more important.”
It is believed that COVID-19 originated in a wet market in Wuhan, China.
Indeed, scientists have been warning for years that wet markets are prime places for deadly viruses to be passed onto humans from animals.
They are known to have poor hygiene standards and some even trade in wild animals such as snakes, beavers, badgers, bats, foxes and porcupines, which increases the likelihood of a deadly virus transferring to the human population.
Dr Amitava Banerjee, who specialises in epidemiology of heart failure, atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases at University College London, told Express.co.uk that Prince Charles is not alone in having these views about biodiversity and pandemics.
However, he also argued that lack of biodiversity could be an effect of the pandemic.
He said: “I have not seen a direct effect supported by science, so this falls under the ‘plausible theory/hypothesis’ range for me.”