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8 Feb, 2021 11:42

Seoul to start testing pets for Covid-19 after country confirms first case in pet cat

Seoul to start testing pets for Covid-19 after country confirms first case in pet cat

Seoul’s metropolitan government has announced that it will begin testing pets for Covid-19 immediately if they start to exhibit symptoms, such as breathing issues, coughing, fever, or secretion from the eyes or nose.

Speaking during a virtual press conference on Monday, disease control official Park Yoo-mi stated a team of health workers and vets will be available to test any potentially infected pets near their homes to reduce the distance they need to travel for medical treatment.

Starting today, the Seoul metropolitan government will offer coronavirus tests for pet dogs and cats.

The new policy has come into effect a week after officials at South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said pets with Covid-19 symptoms would be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

While pets will be allowed to quarantine in their own home, officials have set up an isolation facility in Seoul to look after and monitor the animals in the event their owners are unwell, with Covid-19 or another illness.

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As well as imposing the new testing and quarantine scheme, the Seoul metropolitan government urged residents to extend social distancing guidelines to pets, keeping dogs and cats at least two meters away from other animals.

The government took the step after a cat tested positive in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province. Experts have not yet found that cats or dogs can infect humans with Covid-19, however, suggesting the transmission risk from an outbreak in pets would be low.

Other countries have reported Covid-19 infections in animals, with California’s San Diego Zoo having had two gorillas test positive and Denmark witnessing an outbreak in mink.

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