In the past few weeks, several countries ran experiments to verify whether dogs were able to sniff out COVID-19 and the results were very encouraging as the accuracy rate was above 90%. Even better, Dubai was among the first countries to dispatch these dogs for on-airport rapid COVID-19 testing.
Lebanon’s health minister/poet hinted in an interview yesterday that they’re considering deploying dogs as well at the airport, following a Lebanese-French study and he insisted here that it’s a Lebanese-French study not a French-Lebanese one, whatever that means. He also added that the accuracy is 100%, which wasn’t the case in any of the studies performed abroad.
We know for a fact that the ISF has trained dogs that could do the job, and it might help for faster detection, but if you’re unable to force people to quarantine and respect social distancing rules, then deploying few dogs will not help much. Added to that, dogs might get infected as well and it’s still not clear what can be done to prevent this from happening and prevent COVID from moving through animal populations.
All in all, I think it’s better for the Health Ministry and all concerned ministries to put more effort into enforcing face mask rules and social distancing, and increasing their testing capacity. We don’t have enough dogs and we most certainly cannot afford to buy or train more.