HONG KONG, China – A coronavirus patient’s pet dog has been found to have a “low level” of the virus in China, the Hong Kong government announced early Friday.
The Chinese city’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said the dog was picked up from a Tai Hang flat on Wednesday and samples were collected for COVID-19 testing.
AFCD says the dog doesn’t have any relevant symptoms, but “the nasal and oral cavity samples were tested weak positive to COVID-19 virus.”
According to AFCD, the dog is currently the only canine under quarantine at Hong Kong’s animal keeping facility.
The department says it will closely monitor the quarantined dog and collect further samples for testing to confirm if the dog has really been infected with the virus or if this is a result of environmental contamination of the dog's mouth and nose.
The dog will only be returned to its home when the test result is negative.
Right now, AFCD says it doesn’t have evidence that pet animals can be infected with the COVID-19 virus or can be a source of infection to people.
AFCD wanted to remind pet owners to maintain hygiene habits and to wash their hands thoroughly after contacting pets.
If there are any changes in the health condition of pets, AFCD told Hong Kong residents to seek advice from veterinarians as soon as possible.
As of Friday, more than 2,800 people have died as a result of COVID-19 worldwide, CNN reports. The vast majority of those deaths were in mainland China.
Editor's note: The photo above, provided by Getty Images, is not of the dog mentioned in this story.