WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Pet owners in China are now buying special canine masks to prevent their pets from catching the deadly Coronavirus.
- The idea was brought by an infectious disease expert in the country saying it is possible that the virus can spread to animals like dogs and cats.
- But the World Health Organization says there is no evidence suggesting pets can get the deadly disease.
Following the coronavirus outbreak that has already spread to 21 countries, killed over 300 and sickened over 17,000 people, Chinese dog owners are now rushing to buy face masks for their animals to prevent them from catching the contagious disease, MailOnline reported.
The news comes after a top infectious disease expert in the nation issued a warning that the virus might be passed to animals.
Senior expert team member of China’s National Health Commission Prof. Li Lanjuan advised pet owners to take extra care of their pets because the virus ‘spreads between mammals’.
“If your dogs run around outside and come in contact with the outbreak or people infected with the virus, then your pets should also be put in quarantine,” Prof. Li told state broadcaster CCTV.
Zhou Tianxiao, an online seller of canine-specific face masks since 2018, says his sales have dramatically soared since the coronavirus outbreak last month. The 33-year-old told Mail Online that he usually sells about 150 pieces of masks a month on Taobao, a Chinese e-commerce site before the outbreak. But now, the vendor who sells the masks at 49 yuan (£5.4) for a pack of three, reports that his sales have now reached at least 50 masks a day.
Mr. Zhou said that even though dogs may not seem willing to wear protective devices, he encourages pet owners to give prevention a priority.
“[The dog masks] might not be as professional as the medical masks made for humans, but they are functional,” said Mr. Zhou, also an owner of a border collie named Sylar. “Their main purposes are to block out smog, stop dogs from eating or licking food on the floor and prevent them from being exposed to the virus,” he added.
While the World Health Organization said no evidence suggested that the virus can infect dogs and cats, the agency advised alerted people to wash their hands after holding or playing with their pets to lessen risks of catching the bacteria from the animals, said an online message posted on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.
According to Chinese officials, there are now over 17,000 confirmed cases including 100 from outside the nation. The death toll has dramatically risen to more than 300, with 38 dying in one day, making the highest 24-hour jump since the outbreak began.
The SARS-like infection has also spread to 20 nations and territories with Finland and the UAE becoming the latest to confirm cases. Today, Australia just announced their 8th case, a Chinese woman who is currently being treated in isolation in a Melbourne hospital.
Source: Daily Mail