Santiago, Chile (CNN)Police dogs in Chile are being trained to sniff out Covid-19 in humans, with hopes that they will facilitate the reopening of busy public spaces including malls, sports centers, bus terminals and airports this fall.
Chile wants Covid-19 sniffer dogs to help reopen public spaces
The so-called "bio-detector" dogs are expected to complete training by mid-September and will be deployed to places with high concentrations of people, according to the Chilean police.
Chile has slowly beaten back the virus since its peak in June, and on Sunday announced a five-stage "step by step" reopening plan toward economic recovery.
For now, its dog-sniffer program is small, with just four pups in training. Chile's National Police and the Catholic University of Chile (Pontificia Universidad Catolica) are collaborating to train three Golden Retrievers and one Labrador to detect "a new odor" -- the smell of Covid-19 patients, according to university professor and veterinary epidemiologist, Fernando Mardones.