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China bans South Korean poultry in 6 provinces, construction of live poultry markets

China bans South Korean poultry in 6 provinces, construction of live poultry markets

China has prohibited the construction of live poultry markets in urban areas and has sent an urgent notice to six provinces banning poultry from South Korea as part of ongoing efforts to prevent bird flu outbreaks.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, issued an advisory last week also mandates that the number of markets needs to be "strictly restricted" and that existing markets in densely populated city centers will be gradually phased out.
"Local governments should inspect markets and those that fail to meet the standards will be suspended or closed," said the statement, which was posted on the State Council's Web site on Nov. 20 but announced in state media on Wednesday.
It also warned against illegal poultry trade and urged daily disinfection of slaughtering areas, increased public education on bird flu prevention and improvement of emergency contingency plans.
The advisory highlights China's continued concern over the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has ravaged Asia's poultry since 2003 and killed at least 153 people worldwide. Human infections have been traced to contact with infected birds, but experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that is easily passed between people and trigger a pandemic.
Worries over bird flu outbreaks are usually heightened in the cold months, when migratory birds fly south. The H5N1 virus has been found in an outbreak in wild birds in China.
China has launched an aggressive campaign against the disease after being criticized in the past for its lack of transparency during its outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.
On Tuesday, the Agriculture Ministry issued its emergency notice on enhanced prevention work and timely reporting of bird flu outbreaks in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. All are close to South Korea and lie on bird migration routes, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site.
"The six provinces need to step up efforts on surveillance and reporting," the notice said. "If suspected cases are found, they must collect samples and send them to the state bird flu lab in a timely manner."
They also need to have an emergency response system in place if an outbreak occurs, the notice said.
"The measures should include sealing off the area, slaughtering poultry and sterilization," it said.
The South Korean outbreak occurred at a farm in Iksan, 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Seoul. Around 6,700 chickens died after being infected with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, and another 6,300 were culled.
About 236,000 chickens were also slated for slaughter and 6 million eggs will be destroyed, the South Korean Agriculture Ministry has said. South Korean officials were also planning to kill hundreds of dogs and pigs to prevent the spread of bird flu.


Updated : 2021-10-19 13:29 GMT+08:00