A mass hamster cull in Hong Kong sparked fears amongst animal welfare teams on Wednesday that panicky folks would abandon their pets after 11 of the rodents from one pet store within the metropolis examined optimistic for COVID-19.
The native Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which runs veterinary clinics, informed Reuters it acquired “numerous” enquiries from anxious pet homeowners, asking what to do in regards to the newest scare.
“We urge the pet owners not to panic or abandon their pets,” SPCA mentioned in an announcement.
Scientists all over the world and Hong Kong well being and veterinary authorities have mentioned there was no proof that animals play a serious position in human contagion with the coronavirus.
But having pursued a coverage of zero tolerance for COVID-19, Hong Kong authorities officers took no possibilities after a sequence of current infections with the Delta variant have been traced again to a employee at a pet store.
Hundreds of samples have been collected from animals, together with rabbits and chinchillas, however solely the hamsters examined optimistic for COVID-19, leading to officers giving orders for some 2,000 hamsters from 34 pet outlets to be put down “humanely.”
SPCA listed methods to take care of strict private hygiene for the security of people and animals.
“Never kiss your pets. Do not cough or snort at your pets. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should keep your distance from animals,” it mentioned, stressing that homeowners dealing with animals ought to at all times wash their fingers afterwards.
A hamster concern group, Life on Palm, mentioned on Facebook it had additionally acquired round 100 inquiries relating to hamsters following the cull.
Justifying the federal government’s actions, Health Secretary Sophia Chan mentioned on Tuesday she couldn’t rule out any transmission prospects.
Soon after, well being staff in hazmat fits have been seen strolling out of pet outlets across the metropolis carrying pink plastic baggage into their vans.
Dozens of pet outlets have been requested to shut, whereas imports and gross sales of small mammals have been suspended. Buyers of hamsters after Dec. 22, 2021 have been requested at hand them to authorities for culling and never go away them on streets.
It was unclear what number of had been handed in.
A hotline for enquiries was arrange, whereas some 150 of the pet store’s prospects have been despatched into quarantine, officers mentioned.
Most Hong Kong newspapers featured photos of individuals in hazmat fits in entrance of pet outlets and illustrations of hamsters on their entrance web page on Wednesday, with pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao each day showcasing a tiny rodent inside a spiked virus particle.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)