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One surrendered Hong Kong hamster tests COVID positive as city lockdown grows

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Officers in protective suits walk outside a closed pet shop in Mong Kok district after a hamster cull was ordered to curb the coronavirus di...

Officers in protective suits walk outside a closed pet shop in Mong Kok district after a hamster cull was ordered to curb the coronavirus di...

Hong Kong authorities on Sunday said one hamster surrendered by pet-owners had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and over 2,200 hamsters had been culled as the city grappled to contain an outbreak. Ilan Rubens reports.

Hong Kong authorities on Sunday (January 23) said one hamster surrendered by pet-owners had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, while over 2,200 hamsters had been culled as the city grappled to contain an outbreak.

On Tuesday (January 18) officials ordered the killing of hamsters from dozens of pet stores after tracing a coronavirus outbreak to a worker at a shop.

People were asked to surrender any hamsters bought on or after Dec. 22.

While a handful had already tested positive for the virus, this latest case is the first involving a hamster in the care of a pet-owner that had tested positive.

Despite a public outcry against the crackdown, authorities urged pet-owners to continue to hand over their tiny furry pets given the increasing health risks.

The government described the outcry as "irrational".

In response, thousands of people have offered to adopt unwanted hamsters.

Meanwhile, 140 new infections were reported in Hong Kong on Sunday - and there are no signs of the government easing the restrictions.