Surrendered pet hamster in Hong Kong tests positive for Covid-19


A man carries a cage containing his hamster as he enters the New Territories South Animal Management Centre in the Shatin area of Hong Kong on Jan 19, 2022. - AFP

HONG KONG (China Daily/Asia News Network): A hamster surrendered by a pet owner has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus while over 2,500 small animals were culled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said Sunday (Jan 23).

In a statement, the AFCD said that 10 other hamsters also tested positive for the virus, including seven from the Little Boss pet shop in Causeway Bay, two from another outlet owned by the I Love Rabbit group in the same district, and one from a warehouse in Tai Po.

An AFCD spokesman urged the public to surrender to the department as soon as possible any hamster purchased in local pet shops on or after Dec 22, 2021.

The AFCD had tested a total of 1,793 animal samples from Jan 17 to 22, including 113 samples taken from hamsters surrendered by members of the public.

An spokesman said 77 hamsters were surrendered to the AFCD as of Jan 22 and 71 of them have undergone Covid-19 tests.

As of Jan 22, a total of 2,512 animals, including 2,229 hamsters, were “humanely dispatched,” the spokesman said.

Members of the public can send their hamsters to the New Territories South Animal Management Centre of the AFCD or call 2691-2269. The AFCD earlier banned the import of all small mammals, including hamsters.

The department is also reviewing the quarantine requirements for importing this type of animals into Hong Kong, including considering imposing a requirement for animals to undergo testing for Covid-19 prior to departure by the exporting country or region and for another test upon arrival in the SAR.

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