South Korea launches test for pet dogs and cats

South Korea launches test for pet cats and dogs
Pet cats and dogs in the capital city of South Korea will be tested for Covid-19 if they show symptoms. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Pet dogs and cats in South Korea’s capital city will be tested for Covid-19 if they show symptoms, the Seoul metropolitan government has said.

It comes a few weeks after South Korea reported its first Covid-19 case in an animal – a kitten.

Only pets which show symptoms like breathing difficulties and fever after being exposed to human carriers of the virus will be tested.

The pet must quarantine at home if it tests positive for the coronavirus.

It is not necessary for the pet to be sent into an isolation facility as there is no evidence coronavirus can be spread between humans and pets, said Park Yoo-mi, a disease control official at a virtual press briefing, according to a Yonhap report.

But if the pet’s owners are hospitalised with coronavirus or are too ill or too old to take care of it, the pet will be taken into quarantine at a city-run facility.

In South Korea, human patients with coronavirus are generally put in quarantine facilities if they do not need hospital treatment.

Ms Park reminded residents to keep their pets “at least two metres away from people and other pets when walking them”.

A kitten that was found at a religious facility in the southeastern city of Jinju was found to be infected earlier last month, according to Yonhap news.

Health authorities suspect that a mother and daughter, who were staying at the facility, had passed Covid-19 on to the kitten. Both have tested positive for Covid-19.

Experts had previously said it was highly unlikely that cats or dogs could transmit the virus to people, though research has shown that cats may be able to carry the virus and pass it on to other cats.

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