Another pet shop virus case found

January 18, 2022

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Given that one more COVID-19 case has been found at Little Boss pet shop in Causeway Bay, all customers who bought hamsters from that shop on or after January 7 have to undergo compulsory quarantine.


The confirmed case involves a 67-year-old retired woman who lives in Aberdeen. She visited the pet shop on January 8 and had contact with the infected shopkeeper.


A 73-year-old family member who lives with her developed symptoms on January 17 and he tested preliminary positive after admission to hospital on the same day.


Meanwhile, some of the hamster samples taken by the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department at the pet shop also came back positive in viral tests.


The centre is arranging for all customers who had contact with the shopkeeper during the period from January 7 to 15 to undergo compulsory quarantine at a quarantine centre. About 140 transactions were involved.


At a press briefing this afternoon, Centre for Health Protection Controller Dr Edwin Tsui explained the decision was made because there are at least two possible sources of transmission.


“One is person-to-person transmission in which the shopkeeper transmitted the virus to the customers. But their contact was quite brief, just five to 10 minutes and with a mask on.


“The second possible source that we cannot rule out at this time, is that there are quite a large number of animals - the hamsters are tested with positive results. And because the shopkeeper had a more frequent exposure to the hamsters in that environment, we cannot exclude the possibility that the shopkeeper was actually infected by the hamsters. So we have to do further investigation, like the testing of other animals and also environmental investigations.


“Another hint is the variant that the present case is infected with is the Delta strain, which is not common in Hong Kong, because at present the predominant strain is Omicron. This is quite unusual. If it is a person-to-person transmission, then there may be silent transmission occurring in Hong Kong.”


The Government made a restriction-testing declaration this evening for Ka Sing House, Ka Lung Court in Aberdeen where these two cases live.

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