Animals too need negative test report to fly into India | Chennai News – Times of India

CHENNAI: It is not just humans who would have to show a Covid-19 negative certificate when entering India via flights.
The ministry of finance instructed customs authorities across India to allow import of animals such as cats, lions, leopards and pumas only after they are tested for Covid-19 at the exporting country, when they are to be imported.
The directions were issued on June 30 and are to be followed as long as India is still battling the viral infection, the directive said. “In this regard, the concerned regional officers/quarantine officers, animal quarantine and certification services (AQCS) will issue advance NOC/Final AQCS clearance for import of aforesaid animals into India after receiving negative Covid-19 test report (no more than three days old before export),” the directive said.
This directive is significant for Chennai as nine lions tested positive last month at Arignar Anna zoological park in the city and two died.
Chennai international airport is also the only one in the country where many incidents of smuggling of wild cats into India have been busted and the animals seized. There have been seizures of many other animals as well. As per technical factsheets of World Animal Health Organisation, large cats like tigers, lions, snow leopards and pumas and gorillas have high susceptibility of infection against natural Covid-19 infection.
Sources in Chennai Customs said many expats living in or posted for duty to India would bring their pets like cats along and this directive for Covid tests would be applicable to them.
In case customs authorities find wildlife being imported without necessary documents, the animal would be sent back to the country of export, officials said. Such animals pose danger to local wildlife and also could introduce hitherto unknown infections, officials said.


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