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Please note this statement has been revised and replaces the one previously issued on 25 March 2020.

CHeCS recognises that many farms are not wanting to or are unable to carry out testing at this time, when everyone is trying to follow government guidelines on social distancing, self-isolation etc, during the Coronavirus outbreak. Similarly, the CHeCS Health Scheme providers have concerns about their ability to provide a service during this time.

CHeCS therefore advises that health status will be suspended when testing becomes overdue, but it can be reinstated when the required testing has been carried out, assuming CheCS rules have been complied with and the results are satisfactory.

Furthermore, CHeCS notes that guidance for farm animal vets is to suspend/delay any routine work which does not directly impact on maintaining the food chain, or that is required in accordance with latest government advice on statutory surveillance and TB testing. Veterinary professionals can continue to work but must only provide urgent treatment and emergency care where animal welfare would be compromised by delaying.

There are actually very few circumstances where CHeCS herd testing should be carried out at this current lockdown time. Quarantine and biosecurity screens and cull cow screens for Johne’s tests may be potential exceptions.

We all recognise that this is not ideal and will have consequences for herd status and trade, however these are unprecedented times.

Author: Charlotte Bullock

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