Every morning we read about the rising Covid cases all over the world. The virus continues to infect many people each day. But now, animals are on the list too.
About 11 hamsters are making Hong Kong go crazy. More than 2,000 hamsters will now be culled. But what and how?
It all began when a worker at a pet shop, a customer, and at least 11 hamsters tested positive for the Delta variant.
Two shipments of hamsters from the Netherlands were imported to Hong Kong on December 22, 2021 and January 7, 2022. First 1,800; and then 800 hamsters.
A worker at the Little Boss Pet Shop in Hong Kong tested positive for the Delta variant on Monday, January 17. Followed by a customer, and then the customer’s husband. Later, 11 hamsters from the shop were found Covid positive.
There are 34 licensed shops in Hong Kong that can sell hamsters. Now, all the hamsters from these shops will be seized and then culled. Anyone who bought a hamster after December 22 has to surrender the animal too. The owners too will be tested for Covid.
Scene outside the Little Boss Pet Shop. Photo: Twitter/Laurel Chor
A journalist from Hong Kong shared some details about the incident on Twitter.
Laurel Chor tweeted that there were 2 police vans, 2 AFCD vans with staff members and policemen to capture more than 2,000 hamsters. The seat covers of the vans were covered properly to control further spread. The road surrounding the shop has also been closed and people have been asked to use other routes.
Reporting live from the scene where the doomed, allegedly potentially Covid-infected hamsters live: 3 AFCD vans with staff in full hazmat, police officers (including plainclothes ones), police cordons, and camera crews. pic.twitter.com/covxTBxi8N— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) January 18, 2022
According to a report in The New York Times, Thomas Sit, assistant director of Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said, “They’re excreting the virus, and the virus can infect other animals, other hamsters and also human beings. We don’t want to cull all the animals, but we have to protect public health and animal health. We have no choice — we have to make a firm decision.”
The report also mentions that there is no evidence that the animals infected humans or the other way round.
The shops will now remain closed for some time for sanitising and cleaning. Other animals at the shops will also be tested.
As Laurel said, too many animals will suffer after this incident and it is too hard to believe. Covid is a microscopic villain, so the jury is still out on who is responsible for this.