The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department announced on Wednesday that a dog had tested positive for the virus during a recent checkup while not showing any symptoms. The dog had reportedly tested as a “weak positive” for the COVID-19 virus last month in an earlier checkup, reports The Guardian.
The dog’s owner was reportedly infected with the virus, however, it is still unknown how the pet was infected. Aside from direct transmission from the pet owner, the dog could have also acquired the virus through environmental contamination.
Hong Kong health officials have since warned people against kissing their pets and advised them to regularly wash their hands before and after handling animals. The announcement also comes with a plea to the owners, urging them not to abandon their pets out of fear of the virus.
“Pet owners need not be overly concerned and under no circumstances should they abandon their pets,” Hong Kong’s department of agriculture said.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has stated that there is no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted by pets to humans, CNN reported.
A health expert in China previously stated that animals should also be quarantined to help contain the disease. Following this advice, local officers at a township in Sichuan reportedly went to each house and ordered residents to hand over their pets.
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