Hong Kong lifts controversial hamster ban that made furry animals a public enemy due to COVID

Hong Kong lifted a ban on the import of hamsters for sale in the middle of this month, a year after the city ordered the fur of the mammals to be cut and closed all pet shops selling them to eradicate Covid -19 virus.

Imported hamsters still have to test negative for Covid before they are available for sale, as studies have shown they are susceptible to the virus and can easily spread to humans, a spokesperson for Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of the town said in an email. statement.

The city banned the import of all small mammals for commercial purposes in January last year after nearly a dozen hamsters were imported from the Netherlands and sold at a local pet store. was found to be infected with delta, a virulent variant of Covid-19 that does not exist. The city was detected for months until a worker there tested positive. Officials ordered the culling of thousands of pets. In May, the government resumed the importation of all small mammals except hamsters given the risks.

Hong Kong has been rolling out its Covid Zero policies for months, including scrapping hotel quarantine, lifting restrictions on new arrivals going to bars or restaurants, and scrapping PCR tests. for travelers after their arrival in town. The financial hub said it plans to continue the mask mandate, citing concerns about the strain placed on the health care system from Covid and flu.

In recent weeks, China has also moved rapidly from zero tolerance to the virus after three years of isolation from the rest of the world. The country will reopen to the world and scrap quarantine for arrivals from January 8 as it seeks to boost its flagging economy. Hong Kong, whose border with mainland China has been effectively closed since early 2020, also resumed quarantine-free travel with the mainland on January 8.

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