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Saudi Arabia uses dogs to detect corona patients at customs crossings

By : Marwa Mahmoud

Saudi border officials are playing a leading role in detecting air travelers with coronavirus disease (COVID-19)—using specially trained sniffer dogs.

Dog virus scanners are being installed at airports around the Kingdom to help pick up the smell of infected passengers.

Following the resumption of international flights, customs staff in Saudi Arabia shall use the animals as part of their efforts to avoid the spread of the deadly virus.

The border authority, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has trained Jack Russell Terriers and other breeds to identify the scent of COVID-19.

“The practice was 80 per cent effective,” said Mohammed Al-Salloum, Director of the National Center for Living Means at Saudi Customs, adding that final arrangements were being made for dog teams to start work at airport terminals across the country.

In the meantime, on Tuesday, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced 1,342 new reported cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 281,435 in the Kingdom.

Of the most recent cases, 97 were registered in Riyadh, 56 in Makkah, 53 in Madinah and Hafr Al-Batin, and 51 in Dammam, with 40% female. There were 34,763 active cases, with the majority of patients in healthy and 1,983 severe cases.

The number of individuals recovered from COVID-19 increased to 243,688, of which 1,635 were in the last 24-hour cycle. The Kingdom confirmed 35 new COVID-19 deaths, taking the total toll to 2,984.

The government stated that 54,325 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests had been carried out over 24 hours, bringing the total number of checks carried out since the outbreak to 3,528,040.