COVID-19 | Hong Kong confirms first human-to-animal transmission as pet dog contracts virus

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Health authorities in Hong Kong have confirmed that a pet dog belonging to a coronavirus-affected patient had contracted the virus. Experts called it a ‘low-level infection’ that was likely to be the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission of the disease.

The Pomeranian, which repeatedly tested ‘weak positive” since last Friday – picked up the virus through surface contamination, including nose and mouth.

The dog has now been quarantined with the local Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for further testing, South China Morning Post reported.

A spokesman stressed there was still no evidence that pet animals could be a source of infection of COVID-19 or that they could fall sick.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the largest independent animal welfare charity group in the city, also stressed that being infected was not the equivalent of being infectious or capable of spreading Covid-19.

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The SPCA reminded animal lovers to maintain stringent personal hygiene and limit contact with their pets if they were suspected to have contracted the virus.

The government said a second dog was also under quarantine, along with the Pomeranian, but it had tested negative for the coronavirus.

The owner of the Pomeranian is a 60-year-old woman who was confirmed to be infected and hospitalised on February 25.

Hong Kong reached a total of 100 coronavirus cases on Monday after infections were confirmed in two people, a woman who had been on the virus-struck Diamond Princess cruise ship and the brother of another Covid-19 patient.

Meanwhile, Australia reported its second death from the disease and a total of six new cases were reported in New South Wales taking the total number there to 22, and 52 overall in Australia.

OVERVIEW FIGURES-

The World Health Organization (WHO) has registered over 2,100 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) outside of China, whereas the total number of infected people has exceeded 12,600.

The WHO, in its new coronavirus disease situation report, said that the number of confirmed cases outside of China had risen by 2,103 to 12,668 in 76 countries, reported Sputnik.

It said the death toll outside of China had gone up by 48 to 214.

While Spain, Chile, Poland, Hungary, and the Faroe Islands have reported their first cases of coronavirus, the number of people infected in Iran has increased from 2,336 to 2,922, with the death toll reaching 92.

(With ANI inputs)

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