Lions at Dehiwala Zoo to undergo PCR tests, one suspected to contract COVID-19

Thameenah Razeek (DM) | Published: 2:23 PM Jun 18 2021
Local Lions at Dehiwala Zoo to undergo PCR tests, one suspected to contract COVID-19

A lion in the Dehiwala Zoo has displayed symptoms of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Wildlife says plans are afoot to test the other animals for the virus as well.

Speaking to Ceylon Today, Media Secretary Nimal Yatiwella, quoting National Zoological Gardens Director General Ishini Wickremesinghe, said it was only the lion who displayed symptoms of the virus.

The lion had vomited and had a fever for preceding few days, leading zoo officials to suspect the animal may have contracted COVID-19, Secretary to the State Ministry of Wildlife Protection Major General (Retd) Palitha Fernando said.

State Minister for Wildlife Protection Wimalaweera Dissanayake said the lion's initial PCR test was positive, while the second was negative.

Minister Dissanayake confirmed that the lion is being treated, and therapies are being performed in tandem with COVID-19 treatment.

It has been confirmed that the lion is recovering from his illness.

Minister Dissanayake added that they had already sought advice from India on the treatment of the animals. 

“India has dealt with 14 COVID-19 positive cases on animals, and we thought it would be best to follow their advice in order to keep the country's animal-related situation from worsening. As a result, we began treating the lion under the assumption that he had COVID-19,” he noted. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath claimed that the Epidemiology Unit had not yet been informed that the lion had been infected with COVID-19.

Thameenah Razeek (DM) | Published: 2:23 PM Jun 18 2021

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