Authorities in Hong Kong have announced that they will kill about 2,000 small animals, including hamsters, after several tested positive for the coronavirus at a pet store in Hong Kong. An employee at the store was also infected and tested positive.
Officials say the city will also stop the sale of hamsters and will stop imports of small mammals. The Hong Kong pet shop employee tested positive for the delta variant on Monday, and several hamsters imported from the Netherlands that were being sold at the store tested positive for COVID-19 as well.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says animals do not appear to play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus. But, Hong Kong authorities say they are not ruling out transmission between animals and humans in this case.
As Time reported, customers who went to the store after Jan. 7 will now be subject to quarantine and pet owners who bought hamsters beginning on Dec. 22 have been asked to hand over those pets to authorities to be tested. Reports say that regardless of the test result, hamsters will have to be euthanized.