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Hong Kong to cull 2,000 animals as some test COVID-positive

HONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong authorities said yesterday that they will cull some 2,000 small animals, including hamsters after several of the rodents tested positive for the virus at a pet store where an infected employee was working.

The city will also stop the sale and import of small mammals including hamsters, according to an official from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. The move came after the pet shop employee tested positive for the Delta variant on Monday. Several hamsters imported from the Netherlands at the same store tested positive for the coronavirus as well.

Even though authorities acknowledged that there is “no evidence” that pets can transmit the coronavirus to humans, as a precautionary measure, customers who had purchased hamsters from the affected store after January 7 will be traced and be subject to mandatory quarantine.

They must also hand over their hamsters to authorities to be put down. Authorities said that all pet stores selling hamsters in Hong Kong must cease operations and that around 2,000 small mammals, including hamsters and chinchillas, will be culled in a humane manner.

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