Hong Kong to cull thousands of hamsters after finding traces of animal-to-human Covid transmission

WION Web Team
Hong Kong Updated: Jan 19, 2022, 01:09 PM(IST)

Animal to human covid transmission Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

It is said that a 23-year-old woman who worked at the Little Boss pet shop in Causeway Bay may have contracted the disease from the hamsters who were found to be Covid positive

Hong Kong has decided to kill 2,000 hamsters and temporarily suspend imports of small animals after finding evidence for the first time traces of possible animal-to-human transmission of Covid virus in the city.

Authorities on Tuesday detected traces of the virus on 11 hamsters out of 178 hamsters, rabbits and chinchillas tested at the Little Boss pet shop and associated warehouse in Causeway Bay.

They were undertaking the test while investigating the city’s first untraceable Delta variant diagnosis in more than three months, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper post reported.

It is said that a 23-year-old woman who worked at the Little Boss pet shop in Causeway Bay may have contracted the disease from the hamsters who were found to be Covid positive.

Two employees were also confirmed to have the disease, including one who cleans out the animal cages and handles the hamsters.

Also read | Omicron in Beijing may have arrived by mail from Canada: Report

Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Dr Leung Siu-fai announced that all owners who had bought hamsters since December 22 would have to turn over the animals.

“We have assessed that the risks of these batches are relatively high and therefore made the decision based on public health needs,” SCMP quoted Leung as saying.

“We urge all pet owners to observe strict hygiene when handling their pets and cages. Do not kiss them or abandon them on the streets,” he added.

Also read | Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks ahead of Olympic games

The virus transmission claim comes a day after the Chinese authorities blamed an untraceable lone Omicron variant case in Beijing on a package sent from Canada, via US and Hong Kong.

China has now advised its citizens not to order goods from overseas, claiming that they might get infected through the packages sent from abroad.

(With inputs from agencies)

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