The first dog in the world to test positive for Covid-19 has died after being beaten by the virus. The Pomeranian, 17, was quarantined at a government facility in Hong Kong last month after being believed to have caught coronavirus from its owner, Yvonne Chow Hau Yee, 60.
Mrs Chow Hau Ye had become infected with the virus at the end of February, and was hospitalised until March 8.
During that time, her dog tested ‘weak positive’ in five nasal and oral tests for coronavirus. The animal then tested negative for the virus in two tests taken on March 12 and 13 and was allowed to return home. Mrs Chow Hau Yee told authorities her dog later died on March 16.
Some people have been placing protextive masks over their pets’ faces
No other dogs have had confirmed cases of Covid-19.
A spokesman for Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) told the South China Morning Post: ‘The owner said she was not willing to [allow] an autopsy to examine the cause of death.’ The AFCD had previously confirmed that the genetic make-up of the virus found in both Ms Chow Hau Yee and the dog was highly similar.
Fourth member of family dies from coronavirus after they met for dinner In a statement, the department said: ‘The [gene] sequence results indicate that the virus likely spread from the infected persons and subsequently infected the dog.’ It is the only case of a dog catching coronavirus from a human, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
A spokesperson said: ‘While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit Covid-19. Four people have died from coronavirus in Hong Kong spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.’ Despite the lack of cases, many pet owners in Hong Kong have been seen putting face masks over their pets, while a number of dogs were quarantined earlier this month by authorities.
Another Pomeranian in quarantine belonged to a coronavirus patient, and had tested negative for the disease. Authorities say it will be tested on more time before being released. Hong Kong has so-far had fewer than 170 cases of Covid-19, while four people have died from the virus.
Mainland China has had more than 3,200 deaths, while more than 81,000 people have been infected. The city is believed to have achieved its low number of casualties through intense efforts of social distancing, including having millions work from home.