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Eight lions test positive for Covid-19 in India

Eight Asiatic lions have tested positive to Covid-19 at a zoo in India, the government announced on Tuesday.

The Indian government, however, noted that there was no evidence that animals could transmit the virus to humans.

According to reports, this is the first case of lions in India testing positive for Coronavirus.

“We were told almost a week ago about lions displaying mild symptoms. After we conducted RT-PCR tests, it was confirmed that eight of them are positive. We also did genome sequencing to find out if the strain came from human beings. The report suggests that the virus might have first infected the animals’ caregivers and was later transmitted to the lions,” the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) director Rakesh Mishra told The New Indian Express.

They have further confirmed that the lions tested positive for SARS-CoV2 virus but not the new deadlier variant that has been ravaging the Asian country.

“Further analyses of the samples have revealed that the infection was not caused by any variant of concern. The eight lions have been isolated and due care and necessary treatment has been provided,” he said.

According to reports, the Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), one of the biggest zoos in Asia, has been closed to visitors as a precautionary measure after more than two dozen staffers also tested positive for the virus.

The possibility of animals contracting Covid-19 first came to light in April last year when a four-year-old female tiger ‘Nadia’ and six others tested positive at Bronx Zoo in New York, US.

The animals got infected after being exposed to an asymptomatic zookeeper.

Even though there have been isolated instances of pets getting Coronavirus elsewhere in the world, experts have stressed that there is no evidence of them spreading the disease.