Ho Chi Minh City has not had specific regulations on how to deal with COVID-19 patients’ pets, thus local residents have been asking their friends and relatives to take care of their pets while they are hospitalized.
The southern metropolis is the largest epicenter in the country during the fourth outbreak, which began on April 27.
It has recorded more than 411,600 patients in this bout, many of whom are dog and cat owners.
The city has not established any regulations or guidance on how to deal with pets of COVID-19 patients, said Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai, head of the office of the municipal Department of Health.
Therefore, patients have had to ask their friends and relatives to care for their pets while they received treatment at local hospitals.
"As there are no guidelines or regulations, how authorities deal with the animals must be consented to by their owners," Mai stressed.
In several cases, foreign patients wished to bring along their pets to quarantine and treatment facilities as they had no one else to help, the official continued.
However, the venues are only designed to provide treatment for people and are not capable of taking care of pets.
According to an official in Ward 5, Go Vap District, local authorities had also encountered similar situations.
If a patient needs to be hospitalized or taken to quarantine centers, their family members are required to keep their pets indoors at all times.
If the patient lives alone, or all of their family members are also infected, the dogs and cats can be sent to friends and relatives for temporary care.
As there is no guidance on how to test and treat animals for COVID-19, culling may seem to be the quickest solution, the official continued.
However, the method is not humane, he added.
“The best way is to isolate them. It can be easy to isolate the dogs at their owners’ houses, but doing so at quarantine facilities can be much more difficult.”