One of the hamsters handed over to the authorities in Hong Kong appears to be infected with the corona virus. Authorities this week called for hamsters to be handed in after a number of hamsters were found to be infected with the corona virus. At least 2,200 hamsters have been killed so far.
The infected hamster is the first animal that was turned in by a private individual and tested positive. Previous infections were found in hamsters from pet stores.
The outbreak is partly due to infected hamsters that were imported from the Netherlands on December 22 and January 7. The owner of a pet store where the hamsters stayed tested positive and then infected others himself. That would have led to an increase in the number of infections.
Authorities are calling for all hamsters taken in after December 22 to be returned.
The infections mainly take place in the Kwai Chung district; until yesterday, 105 people had tested positive. Hundreds of households in the district have to go into lockdown. The residents are supplied with food three times a day and are undergoing massive testing.
‘Resistance is irrational’
The culling of the hamsters also encountered a lot of resistance, including from animal welfare organizations. Initiatives have sprung up on social media to adopt the rodents from people who want to get rid of them. “We urge pet owners not to panic or abandon their pets,” one of the organizations wrote.
However, the authorities stick to their appeal and label the resistance as irrational. Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said she understands pet owners are unhappy but stressed that containing the outbreak should be the top priority.