COVID-19: Hong Kong allows hamster pet shops to reopen after a COVID epidemic killed thousands of rodents.
Last week, the local authorities sparked outrage by ordering the cull of more than 2,200 animals, with owners being asked to surrender their pets for compassionate disposal.
After thousands of hamsters were slaughtered owing to a COVID-19 epidemic, Hong Kong will allow pet stores that sell the rodents to reopen.
After connecting an outbreak to a store where an employee tested positive for the Delta variety on Monday 17 January, authorities infuriated pet owners by issuing an order to slaughter more than 2,200 hamsters.
Little Boss, one of the store's hamsters, also tested positive.
At least a few of them were brought in from the Netherlands, where the outbreak at the business is thought to have started.
After being ordered to close, dozens of pet stores that sold hamsters can now reopen.
Importing the rodents, on the other hand, is still prohibited.
Thousands of hamsters were eliminated after customers who bought one on or after December 22 were forced to submit them for testing and "humane dispatch," according to the administration.
Customers were also informed that they would be subjected to mandatory testing and advised not to enter the community unless their tests were negative.
The city's agriculture, fisheries, and conservation department said it tested 1,134 samples from species other than hamsters, including rabbits and chinchillas, and found no COVID-19 in any of them.
Five stores remain closed.
According to the authorities, five establishments, including Little Boss, have remained closed because they have not yet passed the virus test.
All of the other affected pet shops, on the other hand, have been completely disinfected and sanitized, and the COVID-19 virus test results from environmental swabs gathered from these locations have all passed, according to officials.
The government said on Friday that it would compensate hamster-trading pet businesses with a one-time payment of up to HK$30,000 (US$3,850).
In a study published in The Lancet medical journal that has not yet been peer reviewed, researchers in Hong Kong uncovered evidence that pet hamsters can spread COVID-19, linking them to human illnesses in the city.
Thousands of people offered to adopt unwanted hamsters as a result of enormous public outrage directed at the government and its COVID-19 consultants, which authorities dismissed as unreasonable.