South Korea will test pets for Covid-19 if they have symptoms

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Pet cats and dogs in the capital city of South Korea will be tested for Covid-19 if they show symptoms. A few weeks ago the country reported its first Covid-19 case in an animal , a kitten. The pet must quarantine at home if it tests positive for the virus but it is not necessary for the pet to be sent into an isolation facility. However if the pet’s owners are hospitalised with Covid-19, or are too ill or too old to take care of it, the pet will be taken into quarantine at a city-run facility. There is no evidence Covid-19 can be spread between humans and pets. Globally, several pets have tested positive for the virus – though such cases are generally quite rare. Last month, two gorillas in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park contracted Covid-19 from a human handler.

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The virus has also been found in a number of other wild animals, including lions and tigers in the Bronx Zoo in New York and lions at Barcelona Zoo in Spain. Health officials stress the cases are very rare and no cause for alarm. Infected animals detected to date only show mild clinical signs and recover within in a few days. Daniella Dos Santos, President of the British Veterinary Association, said: “Our advice to pet owners who have Covid-19 or who are self-isolating with symptoms remains to restrict contact with their pets as a precautionary measure and to practise good hygiene, including regular handwashing.We also recommend that owners who are confirmed or suspected to have Covid-19 should keep their cat indoors if possible.”