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A dog in Hong Kong just tested positive for coronavirus — here’s what we know

The dog’s owner has been infected with COVID-19, and now the dog may have caught it or it may just be carrying it

A pet dog wears a mask after local media reported that two dogs were infected with H1N1 flu virus during the 2019 spread of the disease in Beijing.
A pet dog wears a mask after local media reported that two dogs were infected with H1N1 flu virus during the 2019 spread of the disease in Beijing.
Associated Press

Hong Kong officials confirmed on Friday that a dog received a result of “weak positive” on a test for the coronavirus, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The dog belongs to a 60-year-old woman who has been battling the COVID-19 virus and has been quarantined since mid-February, according to CNBC.

After the woman was infected with the virus, her pet was given to the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, reports CNN. While the animal is not exhibiting symptoms, it is not enough to fully negate the positive test result.

Despite the positive test results, officials are still unsure if it is possible for dogs to catch the coronavirus, and are now conducting further tests to see if that initial positive was merely a result of “environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose,” Today reports.

The dog remains in a pet quarantine facility in Hong Kong. The dog will be returned to its owner once it receives a confirmed negative test result for the virus, CNBC reports.

The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservations Department recommends pet owners keep their pets under strict quarantine if they are infected to prevent the animals from spreading germs to other humans, according to Time M=magazine.

The CDC recommends pet owners with COVID-19 restrict close contact with their animals while infected, meaning no petting, snuggling, licking or food-sharing, reports CNBC.