A tiger at New York City’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in what is believed to be the first known infection of an animal in the U.S.

In a statement Sunday, the Wildlife Conservation Society said Nadia, a four-year-old female Malayan tiger, has tested positive for COVID-19.

"She, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover," it said.

"Our cats were infected by a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms," said the statement.

The positive test for the tiger was confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory based in Ames, Iowa.

"There is no evidence that animals play a role in the transmission of COVID-19 to people other than the initial event in the Wuhan market and no evidence that any person has been infected with COVID-19 in the US by animals, including by pet dogs or cats," it concluded.

Emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the virus has since spread to 181 countries and regions.

There are more than 1.2 million confirmed infections worldwide and 69,100 deaths, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 260,000 have recovered.