THE dog of a coronavirus patient in Hong Kong has tested positive for the killer bug in what is 'likely' to human-to-animal transmission.
The Pomeranian had repeatedly tested "weak positive" for the new coronavirus since Friday – when it was in an animal quarantine.
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The city's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said the pooch has "a low-level of infection".
Health minister Sophia Chan Siu-chee said during a press conference on Wednesday: "It is positive to tests and has been infected, so it is now quarantined in a centre by the department.
"Further tests will be conducted and it will not be released until the tests return negative results."
In another statement, the department said multiple experts had been consulted and all “unanimously agreed that these results suggest that the dog has a low level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission”.
However, a spokesman stressed there is still not evidence that animals could be a source of infection.
More than 3,117 people have died from the virus and a further 94,141 have been infected.
While officials state there is no evidence showing animals can be infected with or contaminants of the virus, there have been links between COVID-19 and animals in the past.
Local media said the owner of the dog is a businesswoman named Yvonne Chow Hau Yee.
The AFCD said the dog has not shown any symptoms for the virus.
The Pomeranian was placed in an isolation ward last Wednesday and is the only dog at the quarantine facility.
The beloved pet will be kept at the centre for 14 days and tests will continue to be done until the dog is cleared of the virus.
The AFCD said: "It would be closely monitored and undergo further tests to confirm if it really has the virus or if this is a result of environmental contamination of the dog's mouth and nose."
All pet of people in Hong Kong infected with the bug will be quarantined for 14 day starting Friday.
Two dogs are already in isolation.
The deadly outbreak was first believed to have originated in a live animal market in Wuhan.
It was then reported the virus could have spread from a Wuhan laboratory that housed 600 bats, which attacked and urinated on scientists.
Officials claim they are yet to determine its origin.
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