Friday, July 23, 2021

Free Covid test for cats and dogs in Seoul, South Korea

NEWS AND COMMENT-Seoul, South Korea: This is nice to see. There has been quite a lot of talk about cats and dogs creating a reservoir for the Covid virus. And the idea is that this reservoir may end up transmitting the virus from cats and dogs to people at some time in the future when people have managed to control and suppress the virus. Therefore, there is concern about cats and dogs catching the virus from people at this time.

And I suspect that the administrators of Seoul, Korea are aware of this potential and have decided to prevent cats and dogs getting the disease or preventing severe symptoms. However, it is also known that cats and dogs do not present with severe symptoms when they contract Covid. Therefore, I'm convinced that the administrators of this city are more concerned about curtailing the possibility of a reservoir forming in animals which would jeopardise their control of the virus.

Soeul, South Korea. Photo: Pixabay.

So can dog owners can request a free Covid test if their companion animals show symptoms and have had contact with infected humans. I suspect, by the way, that the infection rate in companion animals is higher than people imagine.

Only pets with symptoms which are the classic Covid symptoms such as coughing and breathing difficulties will be tested. And the authorities are asking people to apply the social distancing rules with regard to their pets. They want people to keep their dogs two metres away from other people when they are going for a walk.

Other cities and areas in the country are also planning to provide a test for companion animals. In the southern city of Jinju last month, a kitten became the first animal in South Korea to be confirmed as having the Covid virus. It is believed that the kitten caught the virus from a mother and/or her daughter who were among dozens of people infected when they attended a religious facility in the city.

South Korea has a high level of personal discipline among citizens which has helped the country do better than most others in managing the virus. This is another example of good policy.

P.S. South Korea has a reputation for eating cat and dog meat and killing them brutally. By Western standards this is unacceptable. It points to a very human-centric attitude. The Covid test is designed to protect people and has nothing to do with animal welfare.

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