Pet cat tests positive for coronavirus in Hong Kong

Home veterinarian Wendy Jane McCulloch draws blood from 8-year-old cat Ivy at the closed Botanica Inc. office as she makes client home visits, which have additional safety protocols in recent weeks during the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 31, 2020. (REUTERS)
Short Url
Updated 01 April 2020

Pet cat tests positive for coronavirus in Hong Kong

  • The cat is the third animal to test positive in Hong Kong, following earlier cases in which two dogs tested weak positive or positive during repeated tests for the virus

HONG KONG: A pet cat has tested positive for the coronavirus in Hong Kong after its owner was confirmed with having the virus, the city’s Agricultural and Fisheries department said, cautioning that the animal has not shown any signs of the disease.
In a notice late on Tuesday, the department said there is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and owners should not abandon their pets.
The World Health Organization also states on their website that there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19.
The cat is the third animal to test positive in Hong Kong, following earlier cases in which two dogs tested weak positive or positive during repeated tests for the virus. Authorities said the cat will continue to be monitored and examined.
Samples collected from the cat’s mouth, nose and rectum tested positive for the virus after it was sent to quarantine on March 30.
There has only been one other reported case of coronavirus in a cat, in Belgium, which is believed to have become infected from its owner, according to a statement from the Hong Kong Veterinary Association.
The Veterinary Association said the most likely way pets would be exposed to the virus is from their owners or other people they come into contact with, and the cases were no cause for alarm. 


Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

Updated 29 May 2020

Philippines cracks down on clandestine COVID-19 clinics

  • Intelligence, immigration officials investigating illegal facilities that catered mostly to foreigners

MANILA: The Philippines has intensified its crackdown on uncertified medical facilities offering treatment to people, particularly foreigners, with COVID-19 symptoms.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to help the Philippine National Police (PNP) track down foreign nationals behind the illegal clinics.
“It seems that clandestine medical clinics catering mostly to foreign nationals have sprouted and have been operating without proper authority,” Guevarra told reporters.
He said the facilities could have compromised the health of those who had undergone treatment.
“I’ll therefore ask the NBI and the BI to help the police in locating other similar underground clinics and the people running them, and if warranted, to file the appropriate charges against them,” he added.
Guevarra issued the order following a raid on Tuesday on an illegal clinic catering to Chinese patients in Makati City. Arrested in the operation were Chinese nationals Dr. David Lai, 49, and Liao Bruce, 41.
The clinic was reportedly operating without a permit, while the arrested did not have a license to practice medicine in the country.
Seized from the site were swab sticks, vials, syringes and boxes of medicine with Chinese labels — believed to be unregistered with the Food and Drug Administration.
Last week, law enforcers also swooped on a makeshift hospital for Chinese patients in the Fontana Leisure Park in Clark, Pampanga province.
The raid came after police received information that a COVID-19 patient was “undergoing medical attention” in a Fontana villa.
Arrested during the raid were Chinese nationals Liu Wei, who reportedly supervised the facility, and Hu Shiling, allegedly a pharmacist. Both were released on the same day without charge.
Immigration officials on Thursday said the duo had been placed on their watch list to prevent them from leaving the country while an investigation is underway.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said intelligence operatives will trace four of the patients, and are looking into the case of the Chinese nationals arrested in Makati.
“I’ve instructed our intelligence division to investigate if these alleged Chinese doctors are legally staying in the country,” he said.
“Should we find they violated our immigration laws, they’ll be charged with deportation cases before our law and investigation division,” he added.
“Even if no criminal charges were filed against them, they can be charged for immigration law violations if we can establish that they violated the conditions of their stay in the country.”
If criminal charges are filed, however, the BI will only deport them after their cases have been resolved or they have served their sentences, if convicted.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros called for the “immediate deportation and blacklisting” of the Chinese nationals because of their “blatant disregard of our laws.”
She added that while the Philippines is working hard to protect its people from the virus, “these criminals freely roam and pose a danger to public health.”