South Korea to test pets after first Covid-19 animal infection
CAPE TOWN - Several weeks after reporting its first Covid-19 case in a kitten, South Korea will start testing pets that show symptoms such as fever or breathing difficulties.
According to media reports, the coronavirus can also spread from people to animals.
South Gyeongsang Province reported its first animal infection in January.
The infected kitten was found at a religious facility during a tracking process in which 29 people tested positive.
“Dogs and cats that came into contact with confirmed patients can apply for testing,” Song In-jun, an Animal Protection Division official, told South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Friday.
“If you determine that there are symptoms, you can contact the animal department and explain the situation, and the team of health workers from the Seoul city government will visit your home to collect the sample,” he said.
The country’s capital city, Seoul, is now offering tests for animals. Animals that test positive will need to be quarantined for 14 days.
“Please keep your dogs at least two metres away from people and other pets when walking them, and strictly follow antivirus measures, such as wearing masks and washing hands,” said disease control official in Seoul Park Yoo-mi.
According to the BBC, the coronavirus in animals has been reported in more than 22 countries, with a pet cat in the UK having tested positive for the coronavirus in July last year.
Scientists have recommended that people have their pets vaccinated in order to stop the spread of the virus.
South Korea's latest coronavirus infection count has increased by 403 to take the total case count to 82,837 and 72,936 recoveries.
And, while millions are celebrating the Lunar New Year today, officials have called on residents to stay at home and remain vigilant.
– African News Agency