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 a culling campaign after positive cases emerged at a local pet store. the city.
• Read also: Hong Kong to kill thousands of hamsters after Covid cases found in pet store
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 bought a small mammal after December 22, just before Christmas, to bring the animal to them so that it can be tested and euthanized.
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 screenings.
Many small animals, mainly hamsters but also chinchillas, rabbits, guinea pigs present in pet stores with imported hamsters have been slaughtered after a customer and an employee of a pet store tested positive for coronavirus. Among the animals of the group that manages this shop, ten screenings turned out to be positive.
The risk of transmission from animals “remains low”, the World Health Organization said, but is still possible.
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 Kwai Chung neighborhood were quarantined for five days and all 35,000 residents of the neighborhood had to get tested.
It is one of the largest clusters in the city so far with 170 cases recorded in the subdivision.