16 animals culled at Vietnam’s Covid-19 quarantine area


Photo caption: A file photo of Pham Minh Hung and his dogs while they were going home on a motorbike on October 8

A file photo of Pham Minh Hung and his dogs while they were going home on a motorbike on October 8

By Cu Thi Lan
Editor at Dantri/Dtinews Online Newspaper- Vietnam

HANOI: 16 animals including 15 dogs and one cat have just been culled at a Covid-19 quarantine area in Vietnam as local authorities claimed they had to do that as part of Covid-19 prevention efforts.

According to an official in the country’s southern province of Ca Mau, 15 dogs and a cat that belonged to the family of Pham Minh Hung had been culled by the local Covid-19 prevention and control team.

Chairman of Tran Van Thoi District People’s Committee, Tran Tan Cong said that they received Pham Minh Hung, his wife and their 15 dogs and one cat on October 8. Hung and his wife had returned from a Covid-19-hit area and were sent to a quarantine centre for Covid-19 prevention before being allowed to go home.

While Hung and his wife went to take samples for Covid-19 test, the dogs ran around the area and this scared people.

The couple then tested positive for Covid-19 and were sent to a local hospital for treatment.

The management board at the quarantine area asked Hung to take care of their animals to ensure safety and hygiene at the area, or else they will have to be culled. However, the official said Hung made no efforts to comply.

“At the quarantine centres we have a lot of work to do to take care of people while trying to prevent Covid-19,” the official continued to claim. “After the owners of the dogs tested positive for the virus, there were threats of a possible spread of the virus from the animals to other people. We also received lots of complaints from people staying here who were worried about the threat. And so we decided to cull all the animals on October 10.”

“We had to prioritise pandemic prevention,” he added. “However, we admitted that we were a bit hasty in dealing with this case and we will be adjusting the management methods in the coming time.”

Hung and his dogs had become well-known after a clip of his large family travelling home on a motorbike on October 8 went viral on many social websites. The story angered animal lovers who criticised the local authorities for their inhumane action.

Hung travels with his dogs

Hung travels with his dogs

Talking with local media on October 11, Hung said, “I now can only cry. They were my children, my family. I brought them home to seek better shelter during the pandemic and I couldn’t imagine they would be treated that way.”

The 49-year-old man said that he and his wife were being treated for Covid-19 at a local hospital and his health was not good.

“I don’t want to eat and have not been able to sleep since hearing about them being culled,” the man said in tears. “I’m very sorry for them but I am poor and I could not do anything”.

According to the man, he had lost his job for several months due to Covid-19 and he decided to take his large family home in Ca Mau on October 8. But now he was so sad that things ended that way.

The man said he had received lots of sympathy and support from the public once they knew about his story.

Commenting on the culling of the animals, the Department of Animal Health of Vietnam said that there is little evidence of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infected animals to humans.

The department was suspicious whether the animals were being tested for Covid-19 before being culled.

“At present, there is no evidence to say that animals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus can transmit the virus to humans,” the department said. “According to recommendations from some concerned organisations including FAO, animals in such incidents should be isolated, not culled.”

On October 11, Tran Van Thoi District People’s Committee Chairman Tran Tan Cong said that they have just received a letter of resignation from the head of the local healthcare centre who decided on culling the animals.

“She has received lots of criticism and threats following the incident,” Cong said.

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