Officials in some cities in China have ordered all indoor pets belonging to SARS-CoV-2 patients to be killed due to fear that the animals could transmit the virus to other humans.1
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which reportedly originated in a wet food market or biohazard lab in Wuhan, China in late 2019, government officials in China have been implementing a zero-transmission policy in an attempt to eradicate the virus. Chinese public health officials believe the zero-COVID policy will stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 but,2 despite taking more and more extreme measures to prevent transmission of the virus.3 4
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials have stated that the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2 to human beings is low but that the virus can spread from people to animals during close contact.5
Public Health Officials Tell Anci District to Kill Pets of SARS-CoV-2 Patients
On the morning of Mar. 30, 2022, Anci District Prevention and Control Office issued a notice stating:
In order to ensure the safety of positive patients returning home, after communicating with the Langfang City Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is necessary to comprehensively and thoroughly kill the animals domesticated by positive patients as soon as possible.6
The Office of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau of Anci District, which is responsible for designating professional culling teams, confirmed that it had received the notice from public health officials at the Anci District Prevention and Control Office.7
By 5:00 pm on Mar. 30, 2022, reportedly the “order” had been halted due to public outrage. It is not known how many pets had been killed before the order was suspended.8
Pets Reportedly Killed While Owners Were in Quarantine
A Chinese woman who identified herself as Ms. Fu said that she was asked to quarantine in the city of Shangrao after government contact tracers said she had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. She tested negative for the virus.9 She was not able to quarantine with her dog. However, community workers assured her the corgi would be taken care of in her home while she was away.
Home security camera showed community workers taking Ms. Fu’s dog away, after which he was killed. The video went viral on China’s social media platform known as Weibo, causing public outrage.10
Another woman from the city of Harbin said that her three cats were killed in September 2021 while she was in quarantine. It has been also reported that authorities in cities of Chengdu and Wuxi have entered homes of people that are in quarantine and killed their pets.11
During the course of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities in China have killed pets on several occasions, resulting in conflicts between local governments and citizens.12
Metal Barriers Go Up in Shanghai Apartment Complexes
Associated Press reported on Apr. 24 that Chinese officials were erecting metal barrier fences in neighborhoods around buildings and apartment complexes in Shanghai, where they believe people are infected with SARS-CoV-2. Apparently, public health officials have identified more than 21,000 new COVID-19 cases with most of the cases being asymptomatic and driven by the omicron variant circulating in Shanghai.13
According to the AP story, many residents in the city have had trouble getting groceries and access to medical care because of the barriers and strict controls on movement. A video circulated on the internet earlier in April heard Chinese people subjected to draconian lockdown measures screaming from their apartments “Send us food! Send us food!”14
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Click here to view References:
1 Baker S. Chinese city orders all indoor pets belonging to COVID-19 patients in one neighborhood to be killed. Business Insider Mar. 30, 2022.
2 Fiore K. What Does “Zero COVID” Really Mean? MedPage Today Apr. 29, 2022.
3 Feng E. One Chinese town has started a fiery online debate about China’s zero-COVID policy. NPR Nov. 5, 2021.
4 Baker S. Chinese city orders all indoor pets belonging to COVID-19 patients in one neighborhood to be killed. Business Insider Mar. 30, 2022.
5 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Animals and COVID-19. Jan. 5, 2022.
6 Jenkins SE. China city orders all indoor pets of COVID patients to be killed. WMBF News Mar. 30, 2022.
7 CDC. Animals and COVID-19. Jan. 5, 2022.
9 Feng E. Health workers in China are killing pets while their owners are in quarantine. NPR Nov. 15, 2022.
12 Yan A. Shanghai coronavirus lockdown: corgi beaten to death by pandemic worker in latest pet killing to anger China. South China Morning Post Apr. 8, 2022.
13 Associated Press. Shanghai Erects Metal Barriers in Fight Against COVID-19. Newsmax Apr. 24, 2022.
14 Life Site News. ’We’re starving to death’: Lockdown Shanghai residents shout at visiting gov’t leader. Apr. 11, 2022.