Seoul city gov't administering free COVID-19 tests to pets
Updated: 2021-02-17 15:17:38 KST
Seoul city government on Wednesday identified another case of COVID-19 in a household pet.
It was announced last Monday that free coronavirus tests would be given to pets.
And since then, authorities have administered 8 tests and found two cases one cat, and, as of Wednesday, one dog.
"People have been getting worried ever since South Korea identified its first case of an animal infected with COVID-19. So we started administering COVID-19 tests to ensure animal safety."
The free test is limited to the pets owned by COVID-19 patients.
Local health officials will first check to see if an infected patient has come into close contact with the animal.
They then check if they have any COVID-19 related symptoms.
Symptoms that appear uniquely in pets include discharge from the eyes and nose.
When they see that a COVID-19 test is necessary, health officials take the pet away and carry out a PCR test, the same test used for people.
Samples from the nose, mouth or anus are taken and if the animal tests positive, it must go into quarantine for two weeks at home.
But there is the possibility that the owners could also be in self-isolation and unable to look after their pet.
"If the pets' owners have tested positive and can no longer take care of them, local governments offer temporary shelters for the pets. But more planning needs to be involved."
Citing health experts, a government official said that it is very rare for pets to transmit the virus to humans.
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News