Hong Kong orders cull after imported hamsters test positive for Covid

Beijing, Jan 18 (EFE).- Hong Kong authorities have ordered a cull of 2,000 hamsters after an outbreak of Covid-19 linked to the rodents at a pet store.

Health officials said they had detected at least one Covid-19 case that spread to a human from hamsters imported from the Netherlands, according to state radio RTHK Tuesday.

The case related to the Little Boss store in Causeway Bay but has led officials to recommend that all pet stores and anyone who has bought a hamster since 22 December hand over the animals.

At least 11 hamsters at the Little Boss store, all imported from the Netherlands, tested positive for Covid-19, as did a store worker and a recent customer, RTHK added.

In response, authorities have issued a temporary ban on hamster imports.

If confirmed, it would be the first-known case of animal to human transmission in Hong Kong.

The semi-autonomous Chinese territory abides by a strict zero-Covid policy in line with Beijing. Arrivals to Hong Kong must quarantine for 21 days at a designated hotel.

In November, Hong Kong was one of the first countries outside Africa to report the presence of the contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The territory currently has 238 active cases and an overall count of 13,048 since the pandemic began. EFE


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