First ever dog to catch coronavirus DIES after it was declared disease-free and returned home from quarantine in Hong Kong
- Pomeranian was quarantined last month but returned home over the weekend
- The 17-year-old dog had tested negative in the two most recent tests carried out
- But Hong Kong officials confirmed today the dog had died on Monday
- Owner Yvonne Chow Hau Yee, 60, caught COVID-19 last month but recovered
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The first dog in the world to catch coronavirus has died in Hong Kong after it was declared disease-free and returned home to its owner.
The 17-year-old Pomeranian, whose owner contracted COVID-19 last month, had been quarantined at a government facility but returned home over the weekend.
A spokesman for Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) told the South China Morning Post: ‘The department learned from the dog’s owner that it had passed away on March 16. The owner said she was not willing to [allow] an autopsy to examine the cause of death.’
The canine had tested ‘weak positive’ in five nasal and oral analyses last month. However, in two tests taken on March 12 and 13 the pet tested negative and had been allowed to return home.
The dog’s owner has been named locally as 60-year-old businesswoman Yvonne Chow Hau Yee. She was infected at the end of February and hospitalised. She recovered and returned home on March 8.
Hongkonger Yvonne Chow Hau Yee, pictured in an undated photo, is believed to be the owner of the dog that has contracted the virus
The AFCD previously stated that the genetic make-up of the virus found in Ms Chow Hau Yee and the dog was highly similar.
‘The [gene] sequence results indicate that the virus likely spread from the infected persons and subsequently infected the dog,’ the department said in a statement.
The World Health Organization said previously that the dog is the only known canine to have contracted the killer disease.
The WHO 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.
‘COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.’
However, a number of other dogs were earlier this month quarantined by authorities in Hong Kong, as owners have been seen putting masks over their pets faces in China.
The other dog in quarantine belongs to a second coronavirus patient that tested negative for the virus once and will be tested again before its release.
Authorities said it will continue to closely monitor the Pomeranian and return it to its owner when it tests negative for the disease.
The financial hub has confirmed 167 cases of the new coronavirus in humans, and a total of four deaths.
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