There are currently no plans to cancel any statutory requirement for bovine TB testing in Britain in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is contingency planning for reduced veterinary capacity, to ensure statutory TB testing can be carried out.
In a statement APHA said they are continuing to monitor the situation, and there may be ‘prioritisation of certain types’ of TB tests in the future.
In a new set of guidance notes, APHA said that if a farmer has self-isolated because they, or someone in their household, is showing symptoms of Covid-19, or if they are over 70, then they should not present their cattle for TB testing. Instead, alternative arrangements should be made for someone else to present them. If this is not possible then farmers should contact the veterinary delivery partner (VDP), or vet, who carries out the testing to rearrange.
If the test cannot be carried out within the testing window, then the VDP or vet will notify the APHA.
Reactors found at overdue TB tests will not be subject to compensation reduction if the APHA has been advised that the test could not be completed during the testing window for reasons associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The requirements for statutory pre- and post-movement TB testing remain unchanged.
The official advice from the British Veterinary Association is that all veterinary practices must reduce face-to-face contact immediately. Practices will provide emergency care only, and when carrying out essential work vets must practice social distancing.