Amidst the heavy lockdown and curfew situation in cities like Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra and more, lives of people have almost come to a standstill. Except essential services, nothing stands open, and while we may grumble about it now, it's only for the larger good, especially keeping the COVID-19 outbreak in mind.
The pandemic is still not contained and can spread from person to person even with minimal contact. So, it's safe to stay home and in isolation to curtail the spread of this deadly virus, suggest experts.
Although people are widely practising self isolation across the globe, the animals are not necessarily in isolation and can need medical help or treatment when everything else is shut down.
It's a common myth that animals like dogs can be carriers of COVID-19, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed any such claim by saying it's still not confirmed if animals can be carriers or be infected at all. So, if you have pets, take care of them and give them all the love they need, especially now that you're in absolute isolation.
Recently, the Narendra Modi government told all the states in the country to ensure that medical help for animals is treated as an essential service, which should not be suspended over the COVID-19 lockdowns across the country.
âIt is requested that veterinary hospitals and dispensaries in the state, including private veterinary clinics, veterinary pathologies, animal shelters etc. function in the normal course and the veterinary services be considered in the list of âEssential Servicesâ,â said a letter, addressed to all chief secretaries dated March 23, by the centre.
âIt is necessary to ensure continuous emergency services in the animal husbandry and veterinary sector, especially in emergent animal health issues situations.
âThese May include but are not restricted to, emergency services like disease diagnosis and treatment, monitoring of any emergency livestock and poultry diseases, immediate disease reporting, etc,â the letter further said, which was written by the joint secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Upamanyu Basu.
Even with this order being passed through successfully, veterinarians have been advised to maintain absolute standard of hygiene and avoid public gatherings at all costs if they're treating animals.
On the same day, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) wrote another letter to all states emphasising that all law enforcement agencies ensure that animals and birds do not suffer due to hunger during the lockdown due to COVID-19.
âThis is a valuable service consistently provided by compassionate individuals and the absence of it may cause a large number of animals and birds to suffer and die and carcasses of the dead animals and birds may further spread different diseases amongst community which will be difficult to control,â Dr O.P. Chaudhary, Director of the AWBI has written.
In fact a tweet from BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, regarding pet shop owners locking animals inside their shops, also surfaced on the internet asking people to help these animals out, in case they were heard inside locked shops.
âThe situation is quite alarming. In some places, food is being stoppedâ¦No animal grains and chara is being allowed to come to Haryana from UP. Even pedigree from Hyderabad is being stopped by Mumbai,â Maneka Gandhi said.
While we're concerned about the health of our pets and street animals, we also don't want them to succumb to their illnesses at home or outside. With animals outside being at great risk of dying due to negligence, their carcasses can also help spread other infections and diseases.
Hence, vet services being functional at this point in time is absolutely necessary.