About 150 pet shop customers have been quarantined.
Rodents themselves do not get coronavirus, but they can carry it between themselves. At the same time, the transmission of coronavirus to humans from hamsters has not been proven.
Hong Kong authorities have decided to destroy about 2 thousand hamsters after people became infected with COVID-strain Delta in a pet store. This is reported Reuters on Tuesday, January 18th.
It is indicated that one of the employees of the store fell ill with the Delta strain, after which the doctors decided to check all the animals. It turned out that COVID-19 is present in hamsters. The rodents themselves do not get sick, but they can carry it among themselves. At the same time, the transmission of coronavirus to humans from hamsters has not been proven.
Despite this, the Hong Kong authorities decided to eliminate all animals. The corresponding statement was made by the Minister of Health of the region Sophia Chan.
“There is no evidence that pets can transmit the disease to people. But we acted as a precaution by banning the import and sale of pet rodents,” she said.
Hamster owners have been urged to practice good hygiene and wash their hands after petting or feeding their pets. It is also recommended to refrain from kissing rodents and taking them out of the home. Anyone who bought rodents after December 22, 2021 must hand them over to the authorities for euthanasia and in no case should they be thrown out into the street.
At the moment, research is underway to see if other rodents, in particular chinchillas and rabbits, can be carriers of COVID-19. All animals were previously brought from the Netherlands.
Officials have set up a hotline for questions about hamsters, and about 150 pet shop customers have been quarantined.
Previously, scientists found that the coronavirus affected animals in the United States 10 years ago. This suggests that COVID-19-like coronaviruses may have been circulating in wild and domestic animal populations for several decades.