Hong Kong to cull 2,000 animals after hamsters at a pet store test COVID positive

As a precautionary measure, customers who purchased hamsters from the store after 7 January will be traced and be subject to mandatory quarantine. They must hand over their hamsters to authorities to be put down, officials said

The Associated Press January 18, 2022 19:07:22 IST
Hong Kong to cull 2,000 animals after hamsters at a pet store test COVID positive

A staffer from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department walks past a pet shop which was closed after some pet hamsters were, authorities said, tested positive for the coronavirus, in Hong Kong on 18 January, 2022. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Hong Kong: Hong Kong authorities said Tuesday that they will kill about 2,000 small animals, including hamsters, after several tested positive for the coronavirus at a pet store where an employee was also infected.

The city will also stop the sale of hamsters and the import of small mammals, according to officials from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. The pet shop employee tested positive for the delta variant on Monday, and several hamsters imported from the Netherlands at the store tested positive as well.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animals do not appear to play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus. But Hong Kong authorities said they are not ruling out transmission between animals and humans.

“We cannot exclude the possibility that the shopkeeper was in fact actually infected from the hamsters,” said Edwin Tsui, a controller at the Centre for Health Protection.

“If you own a hamster, you should keep your hamsters at home, do not take them out," department director Leung Siu-fai said at a news conference. “All pet owners should observe good personal hygiene, and after you have been in contact with animals and their food, you should wash your hands."

“Do not kiss your pets,” he added.

As a precautionary measure, customers who purchased hamsters from the store after 7 January will be traced and be subject to mandatory quarantine and must hand over their hamsters to authorities to be put down, officials said.

They said all pet stores in Hong Kong must stop selling hamsters and that about 2,000 small mammals, including hamsters and chinchillas, will be killed in a humane manner.

Customers who bought hamsters in Hong Kong from 22 December will be subject to mandatory testing and are urged not contact others until their tests have returned negative. If their hamsters test positive, they will be subject to quarantine.

Hong Kong has been grappling with a local omicron outbreak traced to several Cathay Pacific crew members who dined at bars and restaurants across the city before testing positive for the omicron variant.

The government announced late Monday that two former flight attendants have been arrested for leaving their homes during quarantine and later being confirmed to have coronavirus infections. It did not identify their employer, but said the two arrived from the US on 24 and 25 December and “conducted unnecessary activities” while under medical surveillance.

The arrests came after Cathay Pacific said it had fired two crew members for breaching coronavirus protocols. It previously apologized and called their actions “extremely disappointing.” The company had to cut back on flights — both passenger and cargo — in January because of tightened virus curbs.

The two have been released on bail and will have their case heard in court on 9 February. If convicted of violating anti-epidemic regulations, they could face up to six months' imprisonment and a fine of up to 5,000 Hong Kong dollars ($642).

Previously in Hong Kong, some air and sea crew members could isolate at home under quarantine exemptions. Regulations were tightened on 31 December  to require crew members to isolate in a designated quarantine hotel for about a week.

Read all the Latest News, Trending NewsCricket News, Bollywood News,
India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Updated Date:

also read

India's top health experts question WHO report on COVID deaths
India

India's top health experts question WHO report on COVID deaths

ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava, NITI Aayog Member (Health) VK Paul and AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria rejected the report as untenable and unfortunate

China's global sporting dominance hurt by COVID-19 curbs
Sports

China's global sporting dominance hurt by COVID-19 curbs

With the exception of the Winter Olympics — held in a virus-secure, closed-loop Beijing bubble — China has cancelled or postponed almost all events since Covid emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.

Biological E's Corbevax price cut to Rs 250 per dose for private centres
Health

Biological E's Corbevax price cut to Rs 250 per dose for private centres

Earlier, in private vaccination centres the overall cost to end-users of the vaccine was Rs 990 a dose, including taxes and administration charges