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Pet groomers take preventive measure against the coronavirus while working on the dogs. Photo: Lam Yik/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Pet owners are urged to adopt "good hygiene practices" like avoiding kissing animals after a dog was found to have a "low-level of infection" of the novel coronavirus, Hong Kong authorities said in a statement Wednesday.

Why it matters: This would appear to be the first case of a likely human-to-animal transmission, per a spokesman for the city's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. But he stressed there's "no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of COVID-19 or that they become sick."

The big picture: The dog returned a "weak positive" reading in its nasal and oral cavities for COVID-19 after repeated tests conducted over several days, the Hong Kong spokesman said. "The dog has not shown any signs of disease related to COVID-19," he said.

  • The animal has been placed into quarantine with another dog, which tested negative to the virus that's infected over 95,000 people worldwide, per the statement. The infected dog won't be released until it returns a negative reading and the other animal must clear one more test before it can go home.

What they're saying: A CDC statement notes it's "not received any reports" of animals becoming sick with the virus and there's currently "no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19."

  • The World Organization for Animal Health also points out there are no examples of animals transmitting the virus to humans. But it adds, "[B]ecause animals and people can sometimes share diseases ... it is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 limit contact with companion and other animals until more information is known about the virus."

Go deeper: Your best defense against coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.