Hong Kong authorities are to cull about 2,000 small animals including hamsters after several of the rodents tested positive for coronavirus at a pet store where an infected employee was working.
fficials said they would also stop the sale and import of the rodents in the city.
The move came after the pet shop employee tested positive for the Delta variant on Monday.
Even though authorities acknowledged there is “no evidence” that pets can transmit the coronavirus to humans, as a precautionary measure customers who purchased hamsters from the affected store after January 7 will be traced and will 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 of the small animals will be culled in a humane manner.
Customers who bought hamsters in Hong Kong from December 22 will also be subject to mandatory testing and are urged not to go into the community until their tests have returned negative.
For now, authorities said they would not rule out transmission between human and animals.
Separately, Hong Kong police arrested two former flight attendants for allegedly leaving their homes when they should have been in isolation for possible coronavirus infections, which were later confirmed.
The two arrived from the US on December 24 and 25. While in medical surveillance, they had “conducted unnecessary activities”, according to a government statement.
While the statement did not name their employer, the arrests came after flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said it had fired two crew members for breaching coronavirus protocols. Both later tested positive for the Omicron variant.