Coronavirus: Hong Kong dog dies after release from quarantine

A medical worker in a hospital in Hong Kong on Feb 4, 2020. The World Organisation for Animal Health has cautioned that there is no evidence of pets transmitting the virus to humans.
A medical worker in a hospital in Hong Kong on Feb 4, 2020. The World Organisation for Animal Health has cautioned that there is no evidence of pets transmitting the virus to humans.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - The Hong Kong pet dog that was tested for coronavirus has died two days after it was released from quarantine.

The dog, identified by the South China Morning Post as a 17-year-old pomeranian, died on Monday (March 16), Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said in an e-mail, citing the animal's owner. The department said the cause of death could not be determined after the owner, who recently recovered from a coronavirus infection, declined to conduct an autopsy.

While the dog initially tested "weak positive" for the virus, it showed no symptoms and was released from quarantine on Saturday (March 14) after further tests produced negative results. The case had been closely watched by animal lovers worried that their pets may be vulnerable to the disease or become potential spreaders. The virus has killed more than 7,800 people worldwide.

The World Organisation for Animal Health has cautioned that there is no evidence of pets transmitting the virus to humans. "However, because animals and people can sometimes share diseases... it is still recommended that people who are sick with Covid-19 limit contact with companion and other animals until more information is known about the virus," it said.