No factual evidence that animals can transmit Covid-19 virus to humans any further, says Centre on Asiatic lions cases | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Allaying fear in general public over reports of positive SARS-CoV2 virus cases in eight Asiatic lions in a zoo in Hyderabad, the environment ministry on Tuesday said there was “no factual evidence” that animals can transmit the disease to humans any further.
The ministry responded to public concerns over the issue, referring to the past cases reported in zoo animals elsewhere in the world last year.
On report of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology‘s laboratory that confirmed SARS-CoV2 infection in eight Asiatic lions in Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, the ministry said, “Further analyses of the samples have revealed that the infection was not caused by any variant of concern. The eight lions have been isolated and due care and necessary treatment has been provided.”
It said, “All the eight lions have responded well to the treatment and recovering. They are behaving normally and eating well. Preventive measures are already in place for all zoo staff and the zoo has been closed to visitors to avoid minimal external contact.”
Though the Central Zoo authority has taken several pre-emptive measures in the light of increasing number of cases of SARS CoV-2, the ministry said new guidelines for Covid-19 precautions were being further developed as part of next steps in consultation with experts.
The monitoring and guidelines for prevention, sample collection, detection in suspected cases, and safety protocols for animal keepers have been suggested to zoos in consultation with scientific agencies and experts from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology – Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (CCMB-LaCONES) Hyderabad.
The CCMB-LaCONES shared test reports of the eight Asiatic lions with the ministry on Tuesday. Last year, a tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo in the US had tested positive for Covid-19. Besides, there were reports of an infection in a pet cat from Belgium. Similar cases were also reported from Hong Kong where two dogs tested positive last year.



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