Eight Asiatic lions at an Indian zoo have contracted COVID-19, the government announced on Tuesday, noting that there was no evidence that animals could transmit the disease to human beings.
On March 24, zoo authorities in the state of Hyderabad shared samples with a government research laboratory after the lions showed signs of respiratory distress.
The test findings come amid a huge spike in COVID-19 cases among humans in India.
“Based on experience with zoo animals elsewhere in the world that have experienced SARS-COV2 positive last year, there is no factual evidence that animals can transmit the disease to humans any further,” said the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The Nehru Zoological Park has now been shuttered, it said in a statement.
India has recorded over 300,000 daily coronavirus infections for 13 consecutive days and has now reported 20 million cases of the disease, the second highest number in the world after the United States.