Following rigorous tests by the CCMB, eight Asiatic lions at the Nehru Zoological Park tested COVID-19 positive. They are under doctors' supervision.
The Press Information Bureau said, on April 24, 2021, with extreme caution, Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), Hyderabad exchanged the saliva samples of eight Asiatic lions with CCMB-LaCONES (The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology-Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species). The samples were collected from the nose, mouth, and respiratory tract under anesthesia after the lions had shown signs of respiratory distress.
The Nehru Zoo Park released a press release on May 4, after the lions tested positive for COVID-19. The lions are healing and responding well to treatment, according to the park. They eat a healthy diet regularly.
Further examination of the samples showed that no strain of concern was responsible for the infection. The eight lions have been separated and provided care and treatment. They seem to be in good health and are recovering.
All zoo staff has been given preventive training to avoid unwanted exposure, and the zoo has been closed to visitors. The Central Zoo Authority has taken many preventative measures in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, including providing guidelines and advisories to zoos on precautions to take. This is the first such case in the country.
On Twitter, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change said the "Analysis of samples of Asiatic Lions in Hyderabad Zoo found COVID-19 positive, reveals infection not caused by any variant of concern. There is no factual evidence that animals can transmit the disease to humans any further.''
The Hindustan Times report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) in the United States, confirmed there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in transmitting coronavirus disease to humans. CDC advisory said more research is required to understand how animals could be affected by the virus. COVID-19 can be passed from people to animals in some situations, mainly when they are in close contact.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.