Hong Kong finds hamster infected with Delta strain

Hong Kong finds hamster infected with Delta strain

After hamsters in a pet shop in Hong Kong were recently tested for the new coronavirus, the authorities immediately ordered to stop importing hamsters and small animals, and asked some citizens to send the hamsters to the authorities for humane treatment.

According to Hong Kong media reports, a female employee of a pet shop in Causeway Bay was recently diagnosed with the new coronavirus variant Delta, and a female customer and her husband were also diagnosed successively. Authorities said about 150 customers at the pet store were asked to quarantine. Authorities have also set up a hotline for hamsters.

The Hong Kong Agriculture and Fisheries Department said it took 125 samples from the store for testing, including 78 hamsters, chinchillas and rabbits. 11 hamster samples were positive for the virus, while others were negative. RTHK said the hamsters were all imported from the Netherlands.

The authorities immediately appealed to all citizens who bought hamsters at any pet store in Hong Kong on or after December 22 last year to hand over the hamsters to the authorities for euthanasia and not to abandon them on the streets. At the same time, 34 pet stores that sell hamsters are also required to close their business, thoroughly disinfect them, send the hamsters for testing, and then treat them humanely. Authorities estimated that about 2,000 hamsters and other small animals were handled in total.

Reuters reported that Hong Kong’s actions apparently echoed China’s “zero tolerance” policy on the outbreak at a time when much of the world turned to a policy of coexisting with the virus.

Previously, there were also cases of pet cats and dogs infected with the new coronavirus in Hong Kong. However, scientists say there is currently no evidence that animals play a major role in human infection with the new coronavirus.

After three months without local infections, dozens of new cases of human infection have been detected this year, prompting the Hong Kong government to impose a new round of restrictions on flights and social life.

This is the fifth wave of the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong, with thousands of residents sent to temporary isolation facilities. The vast majority of these new infections were of the highly contagious Omicron variant, although several of the pet store infections were of the delta strain.

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