niimals would have endangered owners and residents of apartment complex

A city in northern China has killed three housecats after they tested positive for COVID-19, according to a local media report Wednesday, as the country takes increasingly strict measures to contain new outbreaks, the Associated Press reports.

The authorities in Harbin, where 75 cases have recently been discovered, said the action was taken because there was no available treatment for animals with the disease and they would have endangered their owner and other residents of the apartment complex in which they lived, Beijing News online said.

The owner tested positive for the virus on Sept. 21 and went into isolation after leaving food and water out for the three cats.

A community worker dropped in and gave the cats coronavirus tests, which twice came back positive. Despite an online appeal by the owner, identified only as Miss Liu, the cats were put to sleep Tuesday evening.

Pet ownership is increasingly popular in China, and the newspaper’s report on the case drew more than 52,000 comments.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to people is “considered to be low,” although it is known to be transmissible from people to animals in some situations, especially when there is close contact.

© Copyright LaPresse