A Year Later, Covid-19 Sniffer Dogs Ready for Action

1 min read
Demining dogs being trained by CMAC in December 2021 to detect Covid-19. (Heng Ratana’s Facebook page)

Nine demining dogs have finished their training to sniff out Covid-19.

Cambodian Mine Action Center director Heng Ratana said on Friday the training had been completed, and though the dogs were yet to be deployed, government ministries that need them can make a request and receive instructions.

“Our research has come to an end and it was successful,” he said. “When they want them, they can contact us because … we know the dogs have the capability to find Covid-19.”

Cambodia has seen a recent wave of Omicron cases, but is largely phasing out Covid-19 testing. The country announced yesterday that all international arrivals would no longer need to take Covid-19 tests before or after arrival as long as they are vaccinated.

Ratana said the dogs could be used at airports, border gates or stadiums. Twelve dogs had undertaken the training, but only nine passed, he added. They had been compared against PCR laboratory tests, he said.

“If the PCR can find it and dogs cannot find it, they fail. For our accuracy, we take 93 percent … when we compare it with the PCR, it is similar.”

Ratana said a year ago that the Covid-sniffing dogs were selected for training from the center’s 150 demining dogs.

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