HONG KONG: Nine hamster samples have tested positive for the COVID-19 in Hong Kong, local media has reported.
Around 2,600 small animals seized by Hong Kong's animal authorities were tested for the virus of which nine have been tested positive, Hong Kong Free Press reported on Saturday.
Health authorities suspected the city's quickly spiralling COVID-19 outbreak may be linked to hamster shipments from the Netherlands carrying the virus, after five women who visited hamster shops or purchased hamsters between January 4 and 11 became infected, the Hong Kong Free Press further reported.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the risk of animal-to-human transmission is low, whilst low authorities have cited the need to protect public health.
A total of 2,581 small animals were seized from local pet stores during the past week, Hong Kong Free Press said citing government figures.