COVID-19: Madeira to use sniffer dogs

Madeira developing sniffer dog detection.

sniffer dogs at work in Helsinki

Press agency Lusa report that the government of Madeira is developing a project using sniffer dogs to detect people infected with SARS-CoV-2 at the airport.

The president of the Region, Miguel Albuquerque, told Lusa “We are already working in cooperation with trainers and, obviously, it will be one of the areas that we are developing and could, in the first place, be installed at the airport,” he said, indicating that the project is still in the testing phase.

“These dogs are equipped with the ability to detect whether the person is a carrier of the virus or not,” he explained, saying that, if the project is successful, the regional government may suspend the obligation to submit a negative PCR test for entry into the region, in force since July 1, 2020.

Miguel Albuquerque stressed that this “new methodology”, whose legal framework will be revealed later, has “great reliability”.

“They are already using [sniffer dogs] in some countries and we want to do a test here in Madeira,” he said, adding: “We are going to do this pilot test. We are not going to generalise, but it is a pilot test that can work. It is something that we want to experiment with”.

Miguel Albuquerque said that two dogs could potentially be used in the programme.

Sniffer dogs used at Helsinki airport

The Guardian reported last year that four Covid-19 sniffer dogs had begun work at Helsinki airport in a state-funded pilot scheme that Finnish researchers hoped would provide a cheap, fast, and effective alternative method of testing people for the virus.

A sniffer dog is capable of detecting the presence of the coronavirus within 10 seconds and the entire process takes less than a minute to complete, according to Anna Hielm-Björkman of the University of Helsinki, who was overseeing the trial. “It’s very promising,” said Hielm-Björkman. “If it works, it could prove a good screening method in other places” such as hospitals, care homes, and at sporting and cultural events.

Thanks to Jaime for the link.

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found on an earlier post.

Vaccinations in Madeira: updates can be found on an earlier post.

10 thoughts on “COVID-19: Madeira to use sniffer dogs”

  1. Dogs do have a superior sense of smell plus a huge smells memory. When a dog meets you for the first time they will sniff you and store your aroma. Several years can pass before they meet you again and a quick sniff and they’ll remember you. Dogs have been used to detect cancers in people so it is an intinteresting idea to use them to detect covid.

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  2. This is one of the most horrifying things yet amidst this Covid hysteria which is not based on science or evidence. I am shocked that the Madeiran authorities would even consider such a thing, let alone really implement it. How insane and humiliating! Everyone should think twice before supporting such unjustified and unnecessary activities. What kind fo a world are we plunging into!

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  3. It reminds me of being singled out at Guayaquil (Ecuador) airport by a sniffer dog who barked at my hand luggage. It turned out that the dog had smelt a packet of digestive biscuits much to the amusement of the customs officer. I later learnt that the dogs are used as a deterrent and not all trained to sniff out drugs.

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