Hong Kong authorities on Friday they quarantined a pet dog of a coronavirus patient after its nasal and oral samples tested “weak positive” for the virus, though they added they did not yet have evidence that it can be transmitted to pets.
The dog did not have any symptoms.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said it will conduct further tests to confirm if the dog had been infected with the virus or if the samples were only the result of environmental contamination.
“At present, the AFCD does not have evidence that pet animals can be infected ... or can be a source of infection to people,” it said in a statement.
The dog will be put under quarantine for two weeks.
The World Health Organisation website says so far there has been no evidence that companion pets can be infected with the coronavirus.
Hong Kong has reported 93 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in humans, and two fatalities.
Meanwhile, countries on three continents reported their first cases of the coronavirus on Friday as the world prepared for a pandemic of the disease and investors dumped equities in expectation of a global recession.
Share prices were on track for the worst week since the global financial crisis in 2008 as virus-related disruptions to international travel and supply chains fueled fears of recession in the United States and the Euro zone.
Asian stocks tracked a plunge on Wall Street, where the benchmark S&P 500 index fell more than 4% on Thursday, extending a rout that has sliced more than 10% off of its closing peak on Feb. 19.
“The coronavirus now looks like a pandemic. Markets can cope even if there is big risk as long as we can see the end of the tunnel,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
“But at the moment, no one can tell how long this will last and how severe it will get.”
Mainland China - where the virus originated late last year - reported 327 new cases, the lowest since January 23, taking its tally to more than 78,800 cases with almost 2,800 deaths.
Four more countries reported first cases taking the number of countries outside China with infections to 55, where about 3,700 cases have killed about 70 people. Countries other than China are accounting for about three-quarters of new infections.
An Italian man who arrived in Nigeria this week was confirmed as the first coronavirus case in Africa’s most populous country. And a person who returned on a flight from Iran became the first in faraway New Zealand.