A dog, belonging to a woman with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been quarantined after testing positive for the virus.
Officials in Hong Kong revealed the news on Friday, explaining that the dog’s nasal and oral samples tested “weak positive,” The New York Times and Reuters reported.
Prior to the tests, the dog did not have any symptoms of the virus and it remains unclear if the pet is infected with the virus, according to the news outlets.
There has also not been enough evidence to support whether or not the virus can be transmitted to pets.
Following the reveal, The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) announced plans to conduct additional tests in hopes of confirming whether or not the dog is in fact infected.
The samples very well could be a result of “environmental contamination,” according to AFCD, The New York Times and Reuters reported.
“At present, the AFCD does not have evidence that pet animals can be infected… or can be a source of infection to people,” AFCD said in a statement obtained by the publications.
Still, the dog will remain in quarantine in Hong Kong for two weeks. As of Thursday, there are 65 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Hong Kong, South China Morning Post reported.
The first cases of a mysterious respiratory illness began in Wuhan, China in late December. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency, the first since the zika epidemic in 2016.
At first, this coronavirus was contained to China, but Wuhan is a major transportation hub with hundreds of flights leaving and landing from the city of 11 million each day. Soon, as people flew from the area to different countries, the coronavirus reached more countries, including the United States.
On Wednesday, PEOPLE reported that the first case of coronavirus in a patient who did not travel overseas had been reported in the United States.
The case occurred in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced, adding that the patient had not been exposed to anyone else known to be infected with the novel coronavirus.
“At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown,” the CDC said in a statement. “It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States.”
The CDC went on to explain that “community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. It’s also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected.”
The new case brings the total diagnosed in the U.S. to 15.
As the number of cases in the U.S. rises, cities in California are responding.
One day before the news of the case with unknown origin, San Fransisco Mayor London Breed declared the city in a state of emergency in an effort to prepare for the virus’ possible arrival.
“Although there are still zero confirmed cases in San Francisco residents, the global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step up preparedness,” Breed said in her announcement Tuesday, according to USA Today. “We see the virus spreading in new parts of the world every day, and we are taking the necessary steps to protect San Franciscans from harm.”
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