Hong Kong will allow the import of hamsters
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The Hong Kong government will relax a restriction on the import of hamsters in mid-January, nearly a year after more than 2,000 rodents were slaughtered owing to a cluster of COVID-19 cases connected to a pet store in the financial capital at the beginning of 2022.
The city’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD) indicated that limitations for commercial hamster imports might be relaxed based on its most recent risk assessment. The ministry plans to “resume commercial hamster importation around mid-January,” according to a statement provided to Reuters. The hamsters must be tested for COVID-19 before they can be sold, according to the AFCD. “If the outcome of the test is positive, the animal must be isolated until the result is negative.”
In January 2022, Hong Kong authorized a hamster slaughter in response to a human epidemic of Delta variant cases linked back to a pet store worker in the Chinese special administrative area. The decision infuriated animal lovers and many locals. Hundreds of tiny animals, including chinchillas and rabbits, were also tested for the coronavirus in the Chinese-controlled hub, with 11 hamsters testing positive. The Hong Kong pet rodent ban mirrored the mainland’s zero-tolerance policy to COVID-19. From the middle of last year, the former British colony gradually relaxed tough coronavirus regulations.
China declared in December that it will eliminate the majority of its COVID restrictions. Little Boss, the operating firm that operated the pet shop in the center of Hong Kong’s hamster slaughter last year, did not reply to calls for comment immediately. A shopkeeper at one of Little Boss’s stores in the city’s Kowloon neighborhood expressed delight that hamsters will be returning. Prior to the prohibition, hamsters accounted for around 20% of the shop’s income. “There are around a dozen individuals, mostly youngsters, on a waiting list to buy the hamsters in our store,” said the shopkeeper.
Recourses: reuters.com, photobank
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