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No need for pet owners to panic, says expert

2020-03-05 HKT 11:47
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  • Ho Pak-leung says some pets also tested positive for Sars in 2003. File Photo: RTHK
    Ho Pak-leung says some pets also tested positive for Sars in 2003. File Photo: RTHK
A Hong Kong University microbiologist on Thursday said pet owners need not overreact, even though the city may have recorded the world’s first known case of human-to-animal transmission of the new coronavirus.

The pet dog of a Covid-19 patient tested what officials describe as ‘weak positive’ for the virus on four separate occasions between February 26 and March 2. But officials say there is no record of cats and dogs transmitting the virus to humans.

Speaking on a radio programme, Ho Pak-leung said pets getting infected with the virus is nothing new, as eight cats and one dog tested positive for Sars virus during the 2003 outbreak.

All those pets belonged to residents of Amoy Gardens residents, but no animal was found to have transmitted the virus to humans, he said.

Ho said that people should make sure their pets keep a "social distance" from other animals when they go out, but he thinks there is no need for the animals to wear masks.

He also reminded people not to leave pet waste on the streets and use diluted beach to clean the ground, as well as using sanitisers to clean their hands afterwards.