Killing of a cat in Britain was believed to be the start of the Covid crisis, says ex-minister

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A former health minister said the UK government considered whether it might have to ask people to euthanize all pet cats in the early days of the Covid pandemic.

James Bethel said it was unclear whether domestic cats could transmit the coronavirus.

He told Channel 4 News: “We must not forget how little we know about this disease. There was a time when we were very unclear about whether domestic pets could transmit the disease.

“In fact, at one point there was a thought that we might have to ask the public to cull all cats in the UK. Can you imagine what would happen if we were to do that?”

In July 2020, at the height of the Covid crisis, cat owners were warned not to kiss their pets after a female Siamese became the first known animal in the UK to catch the Siamese disease. Went.

Margaret Hosey, a professor of comparative virology at the University of Glasgow who led the screening programme, advised cat owners to “observe very careful hygiene” at the time.

It comes as Lord Bethel’s boss at the time, Matt Hancock, the former health secretary, is facing a series of claims based on a leaked cache of more than 100,000 WhatsApp messages.

The messages provide an insight into how the UK government operated at the start of the pandemic. They include the suggestion that Hancock had asked England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof. Rejected advice from Sir Chris Whitty to test everyone visiting care homes in England for Covid.

Hancock strongly denies clinical advice. A spokesperson called the claim “categorically untrue”.

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