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Posted On: 18 October 2014 05:20 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:14 pm

GCC plans passports for camels

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A camel entering Qatar from a neighbouring GCC country will need a passport and a microchip embedded in its body for identification.

This is to ensure that camels infected by corona-virus (MERS) are not let into the country.

GCC countries are working to ensure camels from one state entering another have passport and an identification microchip embedded in their bodies.

The move aims at ensuring that infected animals do not cross border and pose health hazards to humans, local Arabic daily Al Raya reported yesterday.

The Animal Husbandry Department at the Ministry of Environment has issued an alert after one national was recently found infected by the deadly virus.

However, that’s not a matter of alarm as the situation with regard to the virus is stable in the country, said the department.

Since the first corona-virus case was reported here in 2012 and it was cited that the virus spreads to humans in contact with infected camels, the department set up two teams.

One is a core team while the other is a standby and its job is to take random samples from camels in farms in the country.

So far samples taken have tested negative, and one case that has been reported recently pertains to a person who didn’t come in contact with an infected camel.

The department is coordinating with the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) and carrying out continuous check-ups on camels and humans in contact with them.

The situation as regards the virus is being closely tracked by officials locally as well as at the regional level. Camels from farms in Al Shahaniya, at stray animals’ care centres and the central livestock market have been checked.

Coordination continues with laboratories in the Netherlands for regular sample tests for the virus.

The department has provided mobile veterinary clinics, fully equipped and having necessary medical supplies. These mobile clinics are for areas where there are no veterinary centres.

There is no ban on the import of camels or their meat or milk or other products from neighbouring countries because it is not yet confirmed if corona-virus can be transferred to humans by their use. Research on the role of camels in transferring the killer virus to humans continue.

Qatar is a large importer of animals, their meat and milk and other products and is taking extra precautions.

Coordination is also on between Qatar and other GCC states and regional offices of international organisations concerned with the issue. Measures are also being finalised by GCC states to introduce other controls.