Updated April 7th, 2020 at 07:07 IST

Coronavirus outbreak: New guidelines restrict entry of animals, birds in quarantine areas

Entry of animals and birds in quarantine areas can be a risk of infection spread, say government’s latest guidelines after case of transmission between animals.

Pritesh Kamath
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Amid the alarming swell in the number of Coronavirus positive cases in the country, the government's latest guidelines state that the presence of animals and birds in the area where COVID-19 patients are quarantined can also pose a massive risk of the spread of the disease.

The prevention of the deadly infection in the health ministry document released on Sunday emphasised on the animals and birds to be prevented from entering a quarantine area, and any unnecessary activity should be stopped by security personnel including those of the humans.

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“Separate fence needs to be raised around the building to prevent the entry of animals, especially dogs, monkeys, and even birds if possible. Well-informed and trained security personnel need to be deployed all around the building on a 24x7 rotation basis to monitor the facility and to avoid entry of undesired persons or animals and even birds for eating any food remains or droppings inside the area,” read the document.

Transmission between animals and humans

These guidelines have followed after the reports of transmission of virus between animals and humans. There are reports of a pet cat in Belgium and two dogs in Hong Kong getting infected by their owners who were COVID-19 positive, moreover, a tiger from a New York Zoo has contracted the virus from its zookeeper.

“The guidelines have been drafted as per the best practices followed globally regarding infection control during an outbreak of this nature. As it is an evolving situation, all previously issued guidelines can be modified based on the change in data to meet norms of the current available evidence,” a senior health ministry official said.

“To ensure that all health care personnel use personal protection equipment (PPE) as per guidelines, they need to be properly trained and assisted during wearing of PPE. Separate areas to be earmarked for PPE donning and doffing. Compliance for the same should be ensured by a nodal officer,” said the health ministry official quoted above.

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The surge in COVID-19 cases

The nation is witnessing an alarming surge in the number of positive cases every day. With the nationwide lockdown in its 14th day, the number of COVID-19 positive cases in India stands at 4,280, of which 111 have succumbed to the infection while 3,851 cases are still active; 318 have recovered and been discharged according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

As there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to treat COVID-19, countries including India have been grappling with all possible mechanisms to contain its spread. The Centre and the State governments are trying their best to contain the virus but as the virus is fast-contagious, social distancing and maintaining hygiene is the need of the hour.


Published April 7th, 2020 at 07:06 IST

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