Hong Kong authorities said on Friday that they have quarantined a pet dog of a coronavirus patient as a precaution, adding that there is still no evidence that pet dogs or cats can be infected with COVID-19 or that pet animals can be a source of infection to people.
The dog has not shown any symptoms but was tested a couple of weeks after the owner developed symptoms and tested positive. The dog’s oral and nasal samples tested “weak positive,” prompting the quarantine, but officials said that the test could have shown a false positive result due to “environmental contamination.” The dog’s case is being monitored, and Hong Kong officials said they plan to quarantine the pets of all humans confirmed to have COVID-19, at no cost to the patients.
“Although there is currently no evidence that pet animals are susceptible to COVID-19, this is a rapidly evolving situation,” Hong Kong health officials said in a statement. “As a precautionary measure, we strongly advise that your mammalian pets be put under quarantine by [the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department] if they have had potential exposure to the virus for both public and animal health concerns.”
Hong Kong has reported 94 confirmed coronavirus cases, two of which resulted in deaths.
The World Health Organisation said there has been no evidence that companion pets can be infected with the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they have received no reports “of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19” but urges anyone sick with the virus in the U.S. to restrict contact with pets and other animals, “just like you would around other people.”