Updated April 18th, 2020 from previous article published on March 10th, 2020.
In this emergency, pets and people need the support of each other.
While a minority of pets can possibly catch the virus, there is no reason to believe, at present, that dogs and cats can infect humans. And there is no reason to remove an animal from a house, even if you test positive for the virus, unless you yourself are too sick to look after it.
The coronavirus should not be justification for the abandonment of a pet.
If you or a family member becomes ill, simple precautions can be taken to protect your pet from COVID-19.1
To date, the only pets incidentally exposed to COVID-19 that have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 are two pet dogs in Hong Kong and two pet cats (one in Belgium, the other in Hong Kong). In each case, the pet was in the care of and had close contact with a person who had been confirmed to have COVID-19.2 April 12, 2020 from the American Veterinary Medical Association
Until more is known about this virus, if you are ill with COVID-19 you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as you would restrict your contact with other people. When possible, have another member of your household or business take care of feeding and otherwise caring for any animals, including pets.2
As a responsible pet owner, you should be prepared in case you come down with the virus. As you would make sure you have enough supplies to care for yourself, make sure you have at least two weeks' worth of your pet's food and any needed medications.
If your family is healthy, and your pets rarely come into contact with other animals, they are unlikely to be at risk.
For best practices, you should wash your hands with soap and water after coming into contact with any animal, particularly their saliva. This is a good practice at any time, not just due to the Coronavirus.
So, don't worry, and give them a hug!