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Why a dog tested positive for coronavirus in Hong Kong? Explained

A dog in Hong Kong tested positive for coronavirus last week.

Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said that samples from the dog’s nasal and oral cavities had tested “weak positive” for novel coronavirus. It was believed to be the first time that a dog anywhere in the world tested positive for the virus.

The dog which had no symptoms was put into quarantine and will be repeatedly tested until the result comes back negative, according to the statement. The department “strongly advises” that pets of people infected with coronavirus are quarantined for 14 days.




Despite this, the AFCD and the World Health Organization both agree there is no evidence that pets such as cats or dogs can be infected with coronavirus.

That’s because while dogs can test positive for the virus, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have been infected.

Why a dog tested positive for coronavirus?



We know that coronaviruses can live on surfaces and objects, although researchers don’t know exactly how long this virus can linger for.

This is such a concern in mainland China that the central bank has been deep cleaning and destroying potentially infected cash.

In the same way, coronavirus could be present on the surface of a dog or cat, even if the dog or cat hasn’t actually contracted the virus. The AFCD is testing to see whether the dog has been infected with the virus or if it has just been contaminated with the virus.

“Present evidence suggests that dogs are no more of a risk of spreading (coronavirus) than inanimate objects such as door handles,” wrote Sheila McClelland, the founder of Hong Kong-based Lifelong Animal Protection Charity (LAP), in a letter to the Hong Kong authorities

McClelland said there had been no confirmed cases of cats or dogs contracting the disease anywhere in the world, and that there are no published studies showing that the coronavirus test is accurate in dogs.