On Tuesday, BJP leader Maneka Gandhi said that coronavirus isn't spread by cats and they cannot get infected by the virus, which has affected hundreds and thousands of people around the world. The minister said that they are completely safe to be around. She said this from an animal activist's point of view.
Maneka Gandhi stated, "Cats cannot transmit or get coronavirus. If you have seen some nonsensical thing on TV that some tiger in one zoo has got the disease. Remember this, a cat is not a tiger, there is no relationship. Your cats are completely safe to be around."
She was stating this in a video released by her.
Tiger in US zoo tests positive for coronavirus
Recently it was reported that a tiger was found positive for coronavirus in a US zoo. Reports said that the tiger must have got the virus from a human in the zoo. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) asked all zoos across the country to monitor the health of kept animals as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
On Monday, a tiger housed at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for coronavirus, making it the first known infection in an animal anywhere, according to the US Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
Maneka's claims start debate
Replying to the tweet made by Maneka Gandhi about her claims, Anand Ranganathan, a columnist for Swarajya, questioned her claims on Twitter. He said, "On what scientific basis are you making that claim, Ms @Manekagandhibjp? The first claim, not the second."
He also cited a recently circulated paper on the same subject. Adding, "Anti-SARS-CoV2 antibodies detected in cats. Cats can be infected with CoVID-19 according to a just-published (non-peer-reviewed) study."
To this, Maneka Gandhi replied, "People love scaring themselves and each other. This is not the time for hysteria but for calmness and a scientific approach. This is a notice from the Centre for Animal Health Studies in Tamil Nadu, from a premier veterinary university in India," citing another paper.
1/3 People love scaring themselves and each other. This is not the time for hysteria but for calmness and a scientific approach. This is a notice from the Centre for Animal Health Studies in Tamil Nadu, from a premier veterinary university in India. https://t.co/YEOXUhAoX5 pic.twitter.com/fV8FkL9q1K— Maneka Sanjay Gandhi (@Manekagandhibjp) April 7, 2020
There are several opinions on whether felines such as cats can spread coronavirus. But the CDC has warned Covid-19 patients to isolate themselves from their pets fearing they might catch the infection. A dog had also died of COVID-19 in Hong Kong after it got the virus from its owner.