Pet cat becomes first animal in UK to test positive for COVID-19

The first animal in the UK to have become infected with COVID-19 has been confirmed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to be a pet cat.

ITV News reported that the infection was confirmed following tests at the APHA laboratory in Weybridge, Surrey on Wednesday 22 July.

There is no evidence to suggest that the animal was involved in transmission of the disease to its owners or that pets or other domestic animals are able to transmit the virus to people.

The advice from Public Health England is for people to wash their hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.

All available evidence suggests that the cat contracted the coronavirus from its owners who had previously tested positive for coronavirus. The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission to other animals or people in the household.

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said the infection is a “very rare event”.

She added: “There is no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change.”

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