Pets in China forced to wear masks

 A cat is taken for a stroll wearing its homemade coronavirus mask

PETS in China are being forced to wear bizarre makeshift face masks by their owners who fear they could catch the deadly coronavirus.

Several worried animal lovers have shared snaps of their pets on Chinese social media wearing the makeshift gear – many of which have been made using human-sized surgical masks.

One cat can be seen being taken for a walk outside while wearing its mask. The safety feature consists of two holes for the cat’s eyes and covers the animal’s entire face.

Other cats are given masks which only cover their mouths, leaving their eyes exposed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there is no evidence to suggest pets can be infected with the new strain of coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,000 people and infected around 43,000 others worldwide.

However China’s National health commission has taken a different stance.

Spokesman and epidemiologist Li Lanjuan said: “If pets go out and have contact with an infected person, they have the chance to get infected.

“By then, pets need to be isolated. In addition to people, we should be careful with other mammals especially pets.”

As a result, sales of pet masks are rocketing in China.

One Beijing-based online retailer said he is selling 10 times the number of special masks for dogs every day than before.