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Nine canines successfully trained in Covid detection

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Heng Ratana visits the pack of Covid-19 detecting dogs at the CMAC Kampong Chhang training centre on Thursday. HENG RATANA VIA FACEBOOK

Nine canines successfully trained in Covid detection

Nine dogs that underwent Covid-19 detection training at the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) over the past few months can now identify people with the coronavirus and can isolate them from among thousands in only 10-15 seconds.

Speaking at a ceremony to inspect the progress of research and development of dog sniffing for Covid-19 at CMAC’s Technical Institute of Mine Action in Kampong Chhnang province on October 27, CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said he was very proud of the expert training the dogs received. Officials researched, documented and provided the best training for the dogs to be able to detect Covid-19 in people, he said.

Ratana added that training the dogs to sniff out infected people is an important step in fighting Covid-19. The canines can now participate in preventing the spread of the virus with their abilities to detect infected individuals in only about 10-15 seconds.

He said the dogs are another tool to be used in finding infected people in places such as border checkpoints, airports and major events. Once somebody is detected with the coronavirus, medical procedures can be implemented.

“Dogs are no different from cardiopulmonary resuscitation or a rapid test. Thus, dogs are a tool that signals who is suspected of being infected with the virus. The individuals must then go through further tests or whatever is the Ministry of Health’s procedure. Dogs are just a tool for health professionals to continue their work,” he said.

He said further training would take place next week when more samples will be delivered by the University of Health Sciences.

Neither health ministry secretary of state York Sambath nor the ministry’s spokeswoman Or Vandine could be reached for comment on October 28.

But Svay Rieng provincial health department director Ke Ratha said that if the dogs are capable of sniffing for people infected with the coronavirus without spending much money, it would make a significant contribution to reducing the spread of the disease.

However, Ratha said this work must have enough trained dogs to detect people with Covid-19 in the provinces or areas where there is a high risk of infection.

“Using the dogs effectively is good because it does not cost much money and does not take much time. In particular, it contributes to reducing the risk of infection. If somebody is found to be infected, they can get treatment at home or at an arranged place timely,” he said.

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