Environmental samples collected from 2 ‘I Love Rabbit’ stores test positive for COVID-19, 2,512 hamsters and small animals in HK culled in total

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22nd January 2022 – (Hong Kong)  The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) said yesterday evening that it is following up on cases tested positive for COVID-19 related to pet shops.

 As of today, 8 cases tested positive for COVID-19 are related to pet shops, which are Cases No. 13047, 13059, 13073, 13110, 13118, 13120, 13123 and 13124. Epidemiological investigations on the cases are ongoing.

 As at 21st January evening, CHP has collected a total of 738 environmental samples from 40 pet shops and relevant warehouses, in which a total of 30 environmental samples tested positive. The latest laboratory testing results revealed that environmental samples collected from two additional pet shops (I Love Rabbit at 545 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay; and I Love Rabbit at Tai Po Plaza) also tested positive.

As a prudent measure, the two newly added pet shops will be included in a compulsory testing notice. Specified persons who were present at the relevant venues from 7th to 18th January need to undergo compulsory testing on the specified date. The staff members of the two shops will be arranged to undergo compulsory quarantine at the quarantine centre.

 The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) collected samples from hamsters at the pet shop earlier which tested positive. Based on the results of epidemiological investigation and laboratory findings the CHP possesses at this stage, it could not be ruled out preliminarily that the positive test results of the environmental samples are caused by the pets infected with the virus.

Meanwhile, AFCD said that apart from the 1,213 rabbits, hamsters, chinchillas and other pets in the “Little Boss” store and its warehouse in Tai Po, as of 4pm yesterday, the department had culled a total of 1,299 pets in the remaining pet shops in Hong Kong that sell hamsters. A total of 77 hamsters abandoned by their owners have been received, and a total of 113 samples have been collected from 71 hamsters for testing. Except for the hamsters that died of natural causes, the remaining 69 hamsters have been culled. Two of the 49 hamster samples collected at another “I Love Rabbit” pet store in Causeway Bay on Wednesday (19th) were found to have the virus.

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