By: April Carson
After several hamsters were found to have the coronavirus at a pet shop where an employee was also infected, officials in Hong Kong announced Tuesday that they will destroy around 2,000 little creatures, including hamsters, as part of an effort to contain the outbreak.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Department has announced that the city will also cease the sale of hamsters and import of tiny animals. The pet shop employee was diagnosed with delta variant on Monday, and several Dutch hamsters purchased at the store were found to be positive as well.
Animals do not appear to play a significant role in the coronavirus epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, Hong Kong officials stated that they are unable to completely rule out transmission between animals and people.
"We can't rule out the possibility that the shopkeeper was actually affected by the hamsters," Edwin Tsui, a Center for Health Protection controller, added.
"If you have a hamster, you should keep them at home and not take them out," department director Leung Siu-fai said during a news conference. "All pet owners should maintain good personal hygiene. After coming into contact with animals or their food, you should wash your hands."
"Do not kiss your pets," he advised.
Customers who bought hamsters from the store after Jan. 7 will be traced and subject to a mandatory quarantine, officials said, adding that they would be destroyed as a precautionary measure.
They claimed that all pet shops in Hong Kong must cease selling hamsters and that around 2,000 additional tiny animals, such as hamsters and chinchillas, would be disposed of humanely.
Customers who purchased hamsters in Hong Kong on December 22 are under a quarantine order. Mandatory testing will be conducted on these clients, and they should not contact others until their results have returned negative. If their hamsters test positive, they will be quarantined.
The deadly Hong Kong omicron outbreak, which has been linked to several Cathay Pacific crew members who ate at bars and restaurants throughout the city before showing positive for the omicron variant, became public knowledge recently.
Two former flight crew members have been arrested for leaving their homes during quarantine and later being discovered to have coronavirus infections, the government said late Monday. It did not name the company they worked for, but said the two visitors arrived from the United States on December 24 and 25 and "performed inappropriate activities" while under medical care.
Following the latest biohazard concerns, Cathay Pacific announced on Monday that it had dismissed two crew members for failing to follow infection procedures. It previously apologized and referred to their behavior as "disappointing." The airline was forced to reduce flight numbers in January due on harsher curbs against the virus.
On Feb. 9, the pair was granted bail and will appear in court to defend themselves against charges of breaching anti-epidemic laws. They could face up to six months' imprisonment and a fine of up to 5,000 Hong Kong dollars ($642) if convicted of violating anti-epidemic rules.
Previously, air and sea crew members were allowed to isolate at home in Hong Kong under quarantine exemptions. On Dec. 31, regulations were strengthened to require crew members to stay in a designated quarantine hotel for seven days.
It has also been clarified that 2,000 tiny animals would be destroyed, including hamsters. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that 2,000 hamsters would be put to death.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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