COVID: in Hong Kong, only one hamster declared positive as part of preventive slaughter

COVID: In Hong Kong, only one hamster tested positive as part of the preventive felling


Hong Kong authorities said on Sunday that only one of 77 hamsters handed over to the government by their owners had tested positive for COVID-19 as part of the culling campaign put in place after the appearance of positive cases in a pet store in the city. 

More than 2,000 hamsters have been slaughtered as a 'precaution' after some of them, imported from the Netherlands by a local pet store, tested positive for COVID.

Last Tuesday, the authorities had “strongly encouraged” anyone who purchased a small mammal after December 22, just before Christmas, to bring the animal to them for testing and euthanasia.

Like neighboring mainland China, the territory has adopted the “zero COVID” strategy. The appearance of the slightest case is the subject of an intense search for contact cases, targeted confinements and massive screening.

Many small animals, mainly hamsters but also chinchillas, rabbits and pigs from India present in pet stores with the imported hamsters, were slaughtered after a customer and an employee of a pet store tested positive for coronavirus. Among the animals in the group that runs this shop, ten tests have been positive.

The risk of transmission from animals “remains low”, the World Health Organization has said, but it does exist.

Hong Kong recorded 140 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the highest number for 18 months.

Nearly 5,000 residents of a public housing tower in the densely populated district of Kwai Chung were placed in quarantine for five days, and the 35,000 inhabitants of the district had to be tested.

This is one of the clusters the largest in the city so far, with 170 cases recorded in the subdivision.

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