Chinese authorities have sparked a global backlash after ordering residents to “deal with” their pets in five days or face the risk of animals being culled.
The disturbing warning was issued by countless government officials, committees and village leaders from different municipalities and provinces across the country.
Following more than 210 deaths, the government shared their fears that animals could contribute to the spread of the deadly coronavirus and ordered pet owners to act accordingly.
While some government units warned the people to keep their pets inside, others threatened to cull them if owners don’t deal with them.
The Shaanxi committee, for example, allegedly instructed people to get rid of their dogs and cats, whereas one Hebei village announced that officials would eliminate pets if residents don’t deal with them in five days.
While the World Health Organization claimed there is no evidence that suggests the virus can be transmitted to dogs and cats, the panic started after the country’s top expert on infectious diseases said that pets should also be quarantined if exposed to the novel coronavirus.
The disturbing warning followed shortly after the World Health Organization has officially declared the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency following over 8,200 confirmed cases and more than 200 deaths worldwide.
According to the WHO, the “extraordinary event” represents a “public health emergency of international concern.”
The highest level of emergency was issued by the United Nations after the first case of person-to-person transmission outside China took place in Chicago where a sickly woman infected her husband.
“The main reason for this declaration is not for what is happening in China but because of what is happening in other countries,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced.
“Our greatest concern is for the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, which are ill-prepared to deal with it.”
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