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Latest official Covid-19 advice: Stop panicking about your pet!

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After the Hong Kong government hinted at the likelihood of a human-to-pet infection, scientists around the world have joined together to dispel some of the myths and calm nerves.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 14/03/2020, 13:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:31


Last week Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) revealed a Pomeranian had tested positive for a strain of the Corona Virus.

Writes Science the AFCD said, “The dog has a low-level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission.

“We strongly advise that mammalian pet animals including dogs and cats from households with … infected persons should be put under quarantine … to safeguard public and animal health.”

However, the AFCD's announcement was considered by British scientists as ‘irresponsible’ and by others as misleading. The AFCD had inadvertently caused panic among pet owners who believed that their pet would contract the virus if they fell ill.

No research to support the claim

Shelley Rankin, a microbiologist at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia also disagrees with the conclusion wrought from the findings.

She told Science, “The SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads from humans to humans. There is no research to support human to animal spread at this time."

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“Samples from the Hong Kong dog had a small number of virus particles present. In an animal with no clinical signs of disease, it’s hard to say what this means. It was a single case, and we learned that we need to do a lot more research into the potential of the human SARS-CoV-19 virus to infect animals.”

Scientists in the UK have gone so far even to suggest the Pomeranian’s test samples were in some way contaminated by an external source.

In short, don't worry. There is no evidence to suggest Covid-19 will spread to your pet.