Skip to content

Some hamsters were Covid positive before export from The Netherlands to Hong Kong

  • by

NEWS AND COMMENT – HONG KONG: I sense that there is a certain amount of jitteriness in Hong Kong about the transmission of Covid from animals to people. It has resulted in the demand by the Hong Kong government to kill 2,000 pet hamsters. The veterinarians state that the more humane method would be to put them into quarantine. Some owners of hamsters are getting rid of them. The reports are that more than 100 hamsters have been abandoned after the cull was announced. Beijing also has a zero-tolerance policy on Covid which means strict rules apply at all times.

Hong Kong hamster cull

Hong Kong hamster cull. Photo: Kin Cheung/AP.

A cluster of Covid-19 cases in people have been linked to a pet shop. In all 74 cases have been identified. The reports are that there is some evidence of transfer of the disease from animal to human at a Causeway Bay pet shop. This is the shop, as I understand it, that sold hamsters that were imported from The Netherlands.

The authorities have asks pet shop owners and hamster owners to hand over their animals. In all 11 samples taken from hamsters at this particular pet shop have come back positive.

The researchers believe that the hamsters had become infected on about November 21 last year which would be about one month before they arrived in Hong Kong.

The importation of rodents into Hong Kong has been suspended. The authorities have said that under no circumstances should owners abandon their pets. I wonder whether that is in the interests of pet welfare or any interests of human welfare? If you abandon a pet which has Covid you lose track of that animal. Perhaps they have plans to do some more culling?

Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.


The authorities are restating what has been stated in the West namely that people who contract Covid should be careful not to transmit the disease to their companion animals. This is a possibility. The animals can then transmit the disease to other people.

Two domestic cats have been positively identified as infected with Covid. It appears that the owner of five cat companions came into contact with a Covid patient. That patient gave the disease to the cat owner who then apparently passed the disease onto two of their five cat. All five cats were sent to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for quarantine last Friday. None of the animals show any symptoms. They are monitoring the situation.

Below are some pages on zoonotic diseases: