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How European countries could use Covid-sniffing dogs to reduce infections

Scientific trials in several European countries have found that trained dogs can accurately detect coronavirus in human sweat, opening up a new path for faster and cheaper preliminary Covid screening in all kinds of places.

How European countries could use Covid-sniffing dogs to reduce infections
Photo: AFP

With a sense of smell that's 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours, it's no surprise that numerous trials have shown that dogs are capable of accurately detecting if a person has Covid-19 in 95 percent of cases.

Scientific teams across Europe are now training pooches to see how much they can finetune their sense of smell to Covid-19 (without them coming into direct contact with it), in the hope that sniffer dogs can become a mainstay at schools, stadiums, airports and other public places.

So far, there are reports of succesful trials in France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Finland, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

This quick and cheap preliminary screening method has the potential to cut costs, save lives and help countries with a limited lab testing capacity. 

COVID-19

Macron demands France take ‘protective measures’ against Covid rise in China

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked his government to take "protective measures" as China sees an explosion of Covid-19 cases. The EU was also set to meet on Thursday to discuss measures.

Macron demands France take 'protective measures' against Covid rise in China

Macron has made it clear he is following developments in China very closely and has asked his government to put in place appropriate measures.

Those measures were yet to be announced on Thursday morning but the French government could follow the path of Italy and impose all travellers from China to provide a negative Covid-19 test before arriving in the country.

The French government said it was “ready to study all the useful measures that could be implemented in conjunction with France’s European partners and within the legal framework that exists today”.

On August 1, 2022 France adopted new rules to combat Covid-19 after scrapping its state of emergency. The text gave the government the right – until January 31st 2023 – to require travellers aged 12 and over to present a negative Covid-19 test prior to entering the territory in the event of a “new variant likely to constitute a serious health threat.” 

In Brussels the European Commission was to hold a meeting on Thursday to “discuss possible measures for a coordinated approach” by EU states in response to the explosion of Covid-19 cases in China.

Italy said on Wednesday it was reinstating mandatory coronavirus tests for arrivals from China following an explosion in cases there, with Milan’s Malpensa airport finding around half of all passengers tested were positive.

Coronavirus infections have surged in China as it unwinds tight controls that had torpedoed the economy and sparked nationwide protests.

China on Monday scrapped quarantine for inbound travellers from January 8th onwards, dismantling the last remaining piece of its stringent zero-Covid policy and ending some of the world’s harshest border restrictions.

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