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Hong Kong Officials to Kill Thousands of Hamsters After 11 Rodents Test Positive for COVID-19

Health officials in Hong Kong will kill at least 2,000 hamsters this week and ban the sale of small rodents in pet shops after 11 animals tested positive for the Delta Variant of COVID.

The move is authorized under the region’s ‘Zero Covid’ policy.

“Hong Kong will cull more than 2,000 hamsters after a pet shop worker, a customer and at least 11 hamsters tested positive for the Delta coronavirus variant. Officials said it was not clear that the virus had been transmitted to humans from the animals,” reports the New York Times.

“They’re excreting the virus, and the virus can infect other animals, other hamsters and also human beings,” Thomas Sit, assistant director of Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation department told the newspaper. “We don’t want to cull all the animals, but we have to protect public health and animal health. We have no choice — we have to make a firm decision.”

“The cluster was traced to a worker at the Little Boss pet shop in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong island who was confirmed on Monday to have contracted the Delta variant. Further tests uncovered another infection in a customer who had a brief transaction with the worker while exchanging a cage and buying hamster food with her daughter on Jan. 7. A preliminary test indicated that the customer’s husband had also contracted the coronavirus,” adds the NY Times.

Read the full report here.

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