SINGAPORE, Nov 11 — An African lion at the Singapore Zoo has tested positive for Covid-19, a day after four Asiatic lions at the Night Safari contracted the virus, the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) said.

AVS, which is under the National Parks Board, said yesterday that a polymerase chain reaction test was done on the faecal sample of the African lion that had shown signs of sickness.

“We will continue to work with the Mandai Wildlife Group to closely monitor the health of the lions, which includes sampling and testing of their faecal material for the Sars-CoV-2 virus,” it added.

On Tuesday, four Asiatic lions tested positive for Covid-19 after being exposed to staff members from Mandai Wildlife Group who were infected with the coronavirus.

The lions showed mild signs of sickness including coughing, sneezing and lethargy.

The African lion was similarly showing signs and was being tested then.

AVS already issued an order to Mandai Wildlife Group to isolate all nine Asiatic lions and five African lions in their respective dens.

This includes the five lions that have tested positive so far.  

Mandai Wildlife Group, which runs the wildlife parks, said earlier that three keepers from the Night Safari's carnivore section had tested positive for Covid-19.

Two of the keepers tested positive while off-duty and the third, who had no symptoms, tested positive at work after tests were conducted on team members who had been in contact with the first two. The third keeper was immediately stood down from duty.

AVS noted that the World Organisation for Animal Health has said there is no evidence that animals play a role in the spread of the disease to humans, although there have been sporadic and isolated reports in other countries of animals testing positive after being in close contact with people who have Covid-19.

The spread of Covid-19 is predominantly a result of human-to-human transmission. — TODAY