Coronavirus: Dog in Hong Kong tests positive for the virus, officials says
As reported by the New York Times, the pet dog of a coronavirus patient in Hong Kong has tested positive for a "low level" of the deadly virus, the autonomous region's government reported in a press release on Friday.
The dog's oral and nasal cavities were tested on Wednesday, with the results showing a "weak positive" to the flu-like coronavirus (COVID-19).
Per the Daily Mail, officials from Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department have said in a press release that the dog did not show any signs of infection or relevant symptoms. However, the pet is now being quarantined in an animal shelter that is currently holding no other animals.
The dog will remain at the shelter - located in Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge - for two weeks, and will undergo repeated tests until it is cleared of the virus. The AFCD has also said that previous samples could have been subject to environmental contamination.
The press release states:
"The Department will conduct close monitoring of the above dog and collect further samples for testing to confirm if the dog has really been infected with the virus or this is a result of environmental contamination of the dog's mouth and nose. Repeated tests will be conducted for the dog and it will only be returned when the test result is negative."
The AFCD said in a statement that it: "does not have evidence that pet animals can be infected with Covid-19 virus or can be a source of infection to people".
However, per the Hong Kong Free Press, a spokesperson for the AFCD is also advising infected people to hand over their pets so they can be placed under a 14-day quarantine with veterinary surveillance at a designated animal keeping center (also managed by the AFCD).
According to the BBC, over 80,000 people in almost 50 countries have been infected by coronavirus, with nearly 2,800 dying from the illness. The majority of the deaths have occurred in China, after first being detected in the Hubei province.
As of Friday morning (February 28), there have been 93 confirmed cases in Hong Kong.