Evidence from various studies in the world has suggested that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted from humans to pets, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has warned.
The warning was raised in a recent guideline issued by the ministry on treating COVID-19 patients at home.
While in home quarantine for treatment, COVID-19 patients should avoid contact with pets or letting them come into contact with other people or animals outside the household to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to animals, the ministry said.
By far, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people has been considered to be low, but humans can transmit the virus to animals in some situations, especially during close contact, the ministry warned, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Animal species that have been reported being infected are cats, dogs, ferrets, and those in sanctuaries, including otters and non-human primates, the ministry said.
Reports of animals catching the virus have been documented around the world, most infected after coming into contact with COVID-19 patients, including owners and caretakers.
Several U.S. states have also detected white-tailed deer infected with the pathogen.
Many studies have been done to learn more about how this virus can affect different animals, but they have been based on a small number of subjects and do not show whether the animals can pass the infection back to people.
There should be more studies to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19, the CDC said.
For the time being, people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals, including pets, livestock, and wildlife, the agency advised.
By Monday evening, Vietnam had documented 449,489 coronavirus infections, ranking 59th among 222 countries and territories in the world, the health ministry reported.
The country’s COVID-19 death toll has so far amounted to 11,064, representing 2.5 percent of the total number of patients, or 0.4 percent higher than the global mortality rate.
Except Cao Bang, the pandemic has spread to 62 out of the country’s 63 cities and provinces, Ho Chi Minh City topping the list with over 215,800 infections, followed by southern Binh Duong and Dong Nai Provinces with more than 110,200 and 23,100 cases, respectively.