HK to have hamster back after mass cull under Covid panic

Hong Kong will resume importing hamsters this month, after the government launched a mass cull for the furry creatures last year and banned the import following a hamster cluster triggered by the Covid Delta variant.

Lawmaker for the wholesale and retail sector Peter Shiu Ka-fai confirmed on Wednesday that authorities have decided to resume the commercial import of hamsters by mid-January.

"I reached to the pet trading industry last month and learned the pet shop owners strongly wish for the resumption of hamsters imports," he wrote on Facebook.

"I contacted the government asking for reconsidering the animal imports and received an official response today," Shiu added.

He said thatThe Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department has launched risk assessments of Covid infection under importing hamsters and decided to recover the import by the middle of this month.

In January last year, the government issued an order for pet shops and pet owners to hand over 2,300 hamsters for "humane dispatch" after an employee and 11 hamsters of a pet shop tested positive for the Delta variant of coronavirus.

The government then banned the import of hamsters.

Officials of the Department said the measure was out of "protecting public health and animal health", and they "had no choice".