Covid cases are on the rise in Vietnam so a couple of Vietnamese left Long An province by motorbike with their pet dog pack.

Later, they tested positive for Covid-19. The couple discovered 12 of their pet dogs had died from the virus after they were admitted to the hospital.

Pham Minh Hung (49-year-old bricklayer) said that his wife and he cried so hard they couldn’t sleep.

“I didn’t want to believe that really happened… I couldn’t do anything to protect my kids,” he said, referring to his dogs.

They shared their story on TikTok social media platform. This has created a massive backlash in Vietnam and more than 150,000 signed a petition to end the practice.

Vietnam has seen the latest Covid-19 outbreak since the beginning the pandemic.

Due to the harsh lockdown of recent months, many migrants have not been able to earn their living and forced at least a million to flee major cities.

Pham Minh Haung, 35 and Nguyen Th Chi Em, 35 were also among them.

The couple embarked on the 280km (177 mile) journey with three family members, three dogs and one cat.

They headed to Khanh Hung, Ca Mau province. This is the hometown of a relative. Covid cases there aren’t as common.

Witnesses posted video of the couple’s trip online. They were shown riding their motorbikes with all their belongings and dogs. Many social media users cheered the couple on, and wish them safe travels.

Some people said they were heartbroken when the couple covered their dogs with raincoats in the pouring rain. Some even provided water and food.

They started with 15 dogs. However, as they traveled, two more dogs were given to volunteers after crossing into Ca Mau province. The other dog was lost. They continued with the rest.

After reaching Khanh Hung, the Covid test was positive for both the couple and three of their relatives. Anyone who travels across the provinces must have their blood tested. The animals were taken to the hospital and then quarantined.

State media reported that the 12 dogs were killed by local authorities, along with their family pets. Later, the article was removed.

The exact method of killing the animals is not known. A photograph was published in an official newspaper by the police indicating that they were burnt.

“Disease control should be prioritized and the decision made to immediately kill the animals was a necessary preventive step,” Tran Tan cong, the local official, stated during Sunday’s press conference.

Online, there was a rapid reaction. Many called the decision cruel and heart-breaking.

Hong Anh (actress) is a member and advocate of Four Paws global animal welfare organisation.

Nguyen Hou Vu, an American staff scientist at the City of Hope National Medical Centre, stated that the killings were unprofessional and ridiculous because no guidelines dictate whether pets have to be killed if their owners contract the disease.

There is no evidence that dogs or cats could transmit Covid to people. But, Covid infected persons can still be transmitted to them,” Dr Nguyen explained.

Texas researchers conducted a study that examined 76 cats and dogs from 39 homes with Covid sufferers. Three cats and one dog were found to be infected. All of the animals had mild or no symptoms. All of them quickly recovered.

Dr Nguyen stated that there are many ways to fix this situation. He suggested quarantining the animals in a box, contacting their relatives and engaging a social organization to care for them until they recover.

Vietnam, which was considered a success story in the fight against the virus at the outbreak of the pandemic, received praises from the World Health Organization (WHO), for its prompt response and extensive contact-tracing. However, the Delta strain has brought Vietnam to its knees.

The agency has recorded 840,000 cases, and more than 21,000 deaths. Most cases were discovered during the most recent wave.

Vietnam is being very aggressive in virus control efforts despite Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stating last month that there must be a plan for “living with the virus”.

Many have been convicted and charged with spreading the virus. Some were even sentenced to five years imprisonment.

The viral video last month showed several police officers breaking in to a house in Binh Duong Province. As her son was crying, they dragged out the woman believed to be exposed to Covid. The incident sparked a huge public outcry.

Le Anh, an observer, said that it was not unexpected for authorities to take the decision to kill the pets.

The fight against coronavirus has always been the top priority of the Vietnamese government. It is said that fighting this pandemic would be like defeating an enemy. This means that the country is in war. It is impossible to expect rationale and humane behavior during wartime.

It was the most difficult thing for Mr. Pham to find out that his pet animals were being killed by others.

He’s determined to hold those in authority accountable.

From the hospital, he stated that he had raised his children for approximately six years and that a judge should be able to do justice.

Tran Vo also reports.


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