Hong Kong to cull hamsters and quarantine pet store visitors over Covid fears

More than 1,000 hamsters will be culled and about 150 pet store people despatched to govt quarantine facilities in Hong Kong as metropolis officials responded to fears of animal-to-human coronavirus transmission.

Overall health officials in the Chinese territory released the probe into the hamsters imported from the Netherlands immediately after a pet store employee who had gained two BioNTech vaccinations analyzed positive for coronavirus. A number of hamsters and a shopper also examined beneficial.

Sophia Chan, Hong Kong’s health secretary, stated the selection was made even though there was no considerable proof that pets could transmit Covid-19 to human beings. “For the sake of prudence, we have to consider precautionary steps towards any transmission options,” she advised a press briefing.

The cull will include things like other animals that arrived recently in the metropolis such as rabbits and chinchillas, and imports of pets will be suspended. All pet stores that offer hamsters have been pressured to shut for inspection and cleansing.

The Hong Kong federal government has imposed some of the world’s hardest pandemic-command steps as it has sought to align with China’s zero-Covid policy, together with banning passenger and transit flights and forcing abroad arrivals to endure lodge quarantine for up to a few weeks.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s main govt, has vowed to examine accusations that Cathay Pacific, the city’s flagship carrier, abused quarantine exemptions for crew.

Two former Cathay flight attendants had been charged on Monday for allegedly breaching residence isolation guidelines just after they analyzed constructive for the Omicron variant, drawing accusations of seeding a local community outbreak.

The city’s leaders have also been speeding to contain a general public backlash just after 15 senior officers attended a karaoke celebration with about 200 attendees this month in contravention of formal information to stay away from large gatherings. Two of the visitors tested optimistic and much more than 100 were sent to a federal government quarantine centre.

“I can pledge that both equally our investigation into Cathay Pacific as perfectly as governing administration officers attending the [karaoke party] will not vanish into obscurity,” Lam claimed at a press briefing.

In China, authorities are also intensifying constraints in spite of comparatively handful of conditions in contrast with other nations around the world.

Officials have urged persons to invest in much less abroad goods and a logistics centre in the vicinity of Beijing’s intercontinental airport was shut for testing after it was suspected that Covid was detected on parcels.

The increasing surveillance of abroad publish came as fears rose that the unfold of the Omicron variant could disrupt the Beijing Winter season Olympics following thirty day period. Pang Xiaohuo, deputy director of the Beijing Centre for Disorder Control and Avoidance, said on Monday that the capital’s initial Omicron individual experienced received a letter from Canada at the start of January.

World wellbeing authorities, like the World Wellbeing Organization, have played down the risk of coronavirus transmission via freight and logistics networks.

As section of its demanding zero-Covid system, Chinese authorities have imposed severe journey limitations and lockdowns that have afflicted as several as 20m individuals. The actions bundled mandatory tests in Tianjin, a northern port city of 14m where the to start with domestic Omicron cases were being documented this month, and a lockdown in Xi’an, a city of a lot more than 13m.

Organisers of the Winter season Olympics mentioned tickets would not be bought to the basic general public as the state tackles outbreaks across several provinces.

New local community transmitted conditions of the highly infectious variant were documented in five metropolitan areas and provinces on Tuesday, despite the fact that the National Well being Commission noted 127 new nearby scenarios on Monday, down from 163 the previous working day.

“[I]t has been resolved that tickets must not be offered any much more but be part of an tailored programme that will invite groups of spectators to be current on internet site in the course of the Video games,” organisers mentioned.

Additional reporting by Maiqi Ding in Beijing

​Letter in reaction to this write-up:

Culling pets in excess of Covid fears is a stage also much​ / ​From Huan Huan Wong, Hong Kong