Coronavirus cases in the UK have now been brought up to 51 after 12 more patients were confirmed today. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now revealed this four-phase plan for Britain, amid hand sanitiser shortages and the NHS 111 service in crisis.
But it’s not just humans fearing for the virus, as many are concerned about the impact it could have on their beloved pets.
Fers were heightened last week when Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) confirmed a dog had tested positive for the coronavirus – the first time this has happened in the outbreak.
Officials say samples from the dog’s nasal and oral cavities had tested “weak positive” for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The dog was put into quarantine for at least 14 and will be repeatedly tested until the result comes back negative.
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What is the coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses – of which COVID 19 is just one strain.
These types of viruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
Covid-19 is like seven other strains throughout history which are thought to have made the jump from animals to humans.
Coronavirus symptoms include pneumonia, coughing, fever and difficulty with breathing.
If you have travelled abroad recently and feel unwell, your are contact the NHS 111 online service to find out what to do next.
Can your dog or cat catch coronavirus?
Despite the recent Hong Kong case, the AFCD and the World Health Organisation say there is no evidence that pets such as cats or dogs can be infected with coronavirus.
Both dogs and cats can test positive for the virus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have been infected or will become ill.
“Present evidence suggests that dogs are no more of a risk of spreading (coronavirus) than inanimate objects such as door handles,” the founder of Hong Kong-based Lifelong Animal Protection Charity (LAP) Sheila McClelland wrote in a letter to Hong Kong authorities.
The dog which tested positive in Hong Kong had no symptoms and was in otherwise good health.
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Blue Cross, the pet charity, said: “Until further tests are carried out, there is no current evidence that pets can be infected with the new coronavirus or be carriers of the virus.
“There is currently a dog in Hong Kong who has tested weakly positive for coronavirus.
“Though it isn’t yet confirmed whether this is environmental contamination through the dog’s nose and mouth or whether they have really been infected, which means the situation is still evolving.
“It is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after stroking your pets for protection against other bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella.”
How to protect your pets from coronavirus
PetMD.com recommends keeping kennels clean and hygienic at all times.
The site also says to clean your dog regularly and to stop your dog coming into contact with faeces.
Public Health England recommends keeping away from pets when self-isolating and to wash hands in between any contact.
The British Veterinary Association says: “Current evidence suggests Covid-19 has an animal source but this remains under investigation.
“Vets should continue to take the usual precautions when handling animals and animal products in line with good biosecurity protocols.
“WSAVA has stated that there is currently no evidence that pets can be infected with Covid-19, nor is there evidence that pets might be a source of infection to people with Covid-19.”
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