Coronavirus: dog of Hong Kong Covid-19 patient tests ‘weak positive’

SCMP Reporter

The pet dog of a Hong Kong Covid-19 patient tested “weak positive” for the new coronavirus, the government announced on Friday.

The city’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said in a statement the dog had not shown any symptoms and there was no evidence to suggest that pets could contract the coronavirus or be a source of infection in people.

It said more tests would be conducted to confirm if the dog had really been infected or if this was a result of environmental contamination of its mouth and nose.

Oral, nasal and rectal samples were collected for testing.

According to the World Health Organisation, there is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as dogs or cats can contract Covid-19.

“However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets,” it said on its website.

Hong Kong’s agriculture department said it was alerted to take care of the dog of an infected patient who lives in Tai Hang on Wednesday and that the pet was immediately sent to the dog-keeping facilities at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

It added repeated tests would be performed on the animal, and it would only be returned to its owner once results had come back negative.

The dog is believed to belong to a Jockey Club member who is a Covid-19 patient. Her domestic helper is also infected. The pair were among the 93 cases that have been reported in Hong Kong so far.

A spokesman for the department said in the statement that infected patients were strongly advised to put their mammalian pets under its quarantine to ensure public and animal health.

He said the pets would be delivered to designated facilities for veterinary surveillance for 14 days. Samples will be collected for testing of the Covid-19 virus as appropriate.

The spokesman reminded owners to maintain their pets’ hygiene and to wash their hands thoroughly with soap or alcohol sanitiser after contact with the animals. Pet owners should wear masks while going out, he added.

He said if there were any changes in a pet’s condition, advice from veterinarians should be sought as soon as possible.

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