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Pet dog infected with COVID-19, Hong Kong authorities confirm

A dog wearing face mask is seen on a street as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Shanghai, China March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The pet dog of a coronavirus patient in Hong Kong was confirmed to be infected with the disease, in a likely case of human-to-animal transmission, authorities said on Wednesday.

The canine, which belongs to a 60-year-old woman patient, had repeatedly tested “weak positive” for the new coronavirus since Friday when it was quarantined at an animal centre.

The city’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said repeated tests suggest the dog — a pomeranian — has “a low-level of infection”.

The AFCD said experts from universities and the World Organisation for Animal Health have unanimously agreed that “it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission”.

The pomeranian has not shown any novel coronavirus symptoms the AFCD said.

All pets of people in Hong Kong infected with the coronavirus will be quarantined for 14 days, starting Friday. Two dogs are already in isolation.

The other dog in quarantine belongs to a second coronavirus patient that tested negative for the virus once and will be tested again before its release.

Authorities said it will continue to closely monitor the pomeranian and return it to its owner when it tests negative for the disease.

The financial hub has confirmed 102 cases of the new coronavirus in humans, with two deaths earlier this month.

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