Hong Kong ordered the cull of 2,000 rodents after positive tests.
Hong Kong has warned pet owners not to kiss their animals after 11 hamsters returned positive Covid-19 tests. An outbreak in the Chinese-ruled territory has been traced to a pet shop.
On Tuesday, the Chinese-ruled island of Hong Kong ordered the culling of 2,000 hamsters after a widespread testing of the rodents revealed 11 positive tests.
Health Secretary Sophia Chan told a news conference that authorities were acting out of caution, as there is no evidence that domestic animals can infect humans. The measures echo the zero-tolerance approach adopted on the mainland.
“Pet owners should keep a good hygiene practice, including washing hands after touching the animals, handling their food or other items, and avoid kissing the animals,” Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department director Leung Siu-fai also told reporters.
Leung confirmed that some 2,000 hamsters would be “humanely” put down at 34 pet shops and storage facilities around the city. Anyone who purchased a hamster after December 22 would need to hand it over to the authorities. These animals should not be left on the streets, he added.
The move comes after a recent cluster of Covid-19 cases was traced back to a pet shop in the city’s bustling Causeway Bay district. The brand, Little Boss, said it would close other branches too while they are disinfected.