Taiwan lifts poultry ban

H5N6 under control: Agriculture minister

(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The transportation and slaughter of all poultry will be allowed again beginning Friday morning as the threat posed by the H5N6 bird flu virus has been averted, Council of Agriculture Minister Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) announced.

The nationwide ban had been in force for seven days following the culling of thousands of chickens, ducks and geese across several counties.

The outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N6 avian flu and of other virus strains had effectively been brought under control, Lin said Thursday.

However, the same day, more than 3,000 geese were culled on a farm in Chiayi County as a preventive measure after the birds had shown symptoms of the flu, reports said.

During the period of the ban, doctors had tested 633 people for the bird flu, but none had turned out positive.

The government ban had raised fears of shortages of chicken meat and eggs, while commentators suggested consumers avoid eating chicken, not sufficiently cooked eggs, and some egg products such as the popular Italian tiramisu dessert.

Taiwan had to go three months without new H5N6 cases before the government could tell the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that the country was free of the bird flu.

The risk of a new outbreak had been cut to a minimum, but if a new case was diagnosed, all poultry within 1 kilometer of the case would not be allowed to move, officials said.