• Hong Kong to kill 2000 animals after Hamsters blamed for COVID-19 spread

    Digital Desk: After multiple tiny animals, including hamsters, tested positive for the coronavirus at a pet business where an employee was also afflicted, Hong Kong officials announced Tuesday that they will kill 2000 animals, including hamsters. According to officials from the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department, the city would also ban the selling of hamsters and the import of small mammals. On Monday, a pet store employee tested positive for the delta strain, as did other hamsters imported from the Netherlands at the business. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animals do not appear to play a substantial role in spreading the coronavirus. However, Hong Kong authorities have stated that they are not ruling out the possibility of human-to-human transmission. "We cannot exclude the possibility that the shopkeeper was in fact actually infected from the hamsters," said Edwin Tsui, a controller at the Centre for Health Protection. Also Read: Sanjay Dutt was “innocent”; “He was trapped”: Subhash Ghai "If you own a hamster, you should keep your hamsters at home, do not take them out," department director Leung Siu-fai said at a news conference. "All pet owners should observe good personal hygiene, and after you have been in contact with animals and their food, you should wash your hands." "Do not kiss your pets," he added. Officials said that customers who bought hamsters from the store after January 7 would be located and subjected to mandatory quarantine. They will also have to hand their hamsters to authorities to be put down.  They said that all pet stores in Hong Kong must stop selling hamsters and that 2,000 small mammals, including hamsters and chinchillas, will be humanely slain. They stated that they will kill 2000 animals to stop the spread of the disease.  Customers who purchased hamsters in Hong Kong after December 22 December 22 will be subjected to obligatory testing and are advised not to contact anybody else until their tests are negative. Quarantine would be imposed if their hamsters test positive. A local omicron outbreak has been connected to many Cathay Pacific crew members who dined at bars and restaurants throughout the city before testing positive for the omicron type. Two former flight attendants were arrested late Monday by the government for leaving their houses during quarantine and afterwards being diagnosed with coronavirus illnesses. It did not name their employer but stated that the two arrived from the United States on December 24 and 25 and engaged in "unnecessary actions" while under medical supervision. The arrests followed Cathay Pacific's announcement that two crew members had been sacked for violating coronavirus regulations. It had already apologized for their behavior, which is described as "very unsatisfactory." Because of increased virus controls, the business had to reduce passenger and freight flights in January.

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