Fifth lion in Singapore tests positive for Covid-19

A file photo of an African lion at the Singapore Zoo. PHOTO: MANDAI WILDLIFE RESERVE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The African lion at the Singapore Zoo which showed signs of sickness on Monday (Nov 8) has tested positive for Covid-19, said the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) on Wednesday evening.

It is the fifth lion in Singapore to be infected with the coronavirus, after four Asiatic lions at the Night Safari tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.

The faecal sample taken from the African lion was positive for the Sars-CoV-2 virus in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, said AVS.

"AVS had previously issued an order under the Animals and Birds Act to Mandai Wildlife Group to isolate the nine Asiatic lions and five African lions as two separate groups, within the Night Safari and the Singapore Zoo respectively," it added.

This includes the five lions that have tested positive. All lions are isolated within their respective dens, said AVS.

A Mandai Wildlife Group spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday that all its lions that have been unwell are "bright, alert and active for now".

"While we expect them to fully recover soon, we are monitoring them very closely. We have added vitamin C to their diet but have not needed to administer other medications," the spokesman added.

"The World Health Organisation for Animal Health has advised that the risk of transmission from infected animals to humans is very low. Nevertheless, we have closed the exhibits while our lions rest."

The spokesman also said that its keepers are recovering well but did not say how many cases were found among its staff and whether it is a workplace cluster.

"The cases likely occurred independently of each other and is reflective of the infection in the wider society," the spokesman said.

Mandai Wildlife Group also did not respond to queries on whether additional measures will be taken to keep visitors safe.

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