Friday, July 2, 2021

Cats must have negative Covid test before entering India

The Indian government has made it mandatory for members of the cat family to have a negative test for Covid before they are allowed into the country. This includes domestic cats to the big cats, in fact any cat! The new rules also include gorillas. The objective is obvious, namely to try and minimise the spread of the disease in the country. It is the first of its kind. 

It's an interesting rule because the experts have consistently stated that there is no evidence that cats transmit the disease to people despite the fact that that it is a zoonotic disease. Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transmitted between humans and animals and vice versa.

Cats must have negative Covid test before entering India
Cats must have negative Covid test before entering India

So, I guess this rule has been enacted out of an abundance of caution, as the politicians say. The government states that large cats and gorillas are "having high susceptibility of infection against natural Covid-19 infection". The information for this they say comes from the World Animal Health Organisation Technical Fact Sheet.

The rule will be in place until the pandemic has ended. The negative test must be no older than three days. The world knows that India is going through a surge in infections for Covid. Their reported rate of infection and deaths are highly misleading. They are heavily underreported. The families of people who die of Covid do not report the matter. These people are not taken to hospital. There is no record of them dying. They are burnt on funeral pyres. We see them in car parks.

It is entirely wrong for the news media to list comparisons of infections and deaths on a country-by-country basis because each country reports this data differently. If there was a uniform reporting system you can compare the data but this is not the case.

The UK, for example, states that if anybody dies within 28 days of getting Covid their death certificate states that they died of Covid! There is no other country on the planet that is so generous in his assessment of death by Covid! And yet the UK is constantly criticised the high death rates. I'm digressing.

Big cats and zoos have been known to get Covid from their zookeepers. Domestic cats and dogs have contracted Covid but we don't know the numbers but they are very low. It is a minor issue in controlling the virus. Although some scientists believe that animals may become a reservoir for the virus when it has been quelled by social distancing and vaccinations.

I would expect further action to take place both in India and in other countries with respect to how we deal with zoo and companion animals. There is a call for vaccinating animals against the virus and in Russia they do have a vaccination for that purpose. But can we trust Russian vaccinations? Russian citizens do not trust their own vaccine which is why they have an incredibly poor rate of take-up of inoculations against the virus in Russia. I'm digressing again!

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