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Measures Taken to Ward off Bird Flu

As an outbreak of bird flu is being seen in Asian countries like the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan and Viet Nam, Chinese authorities are going to impose a ban on the importing of birds and various goods from Japan and Viet Nam.


Sources with the stockbreeding and veterinary bureau under the Ministry of Agriculture said the ban, similar to an earlier one on ROK birds and related products, could come out sometime this week.


In South China's Guangdong Province, hygiene authorities have so far received no reports on infection cases but nevertheless have imposed stringent surveillance measures, said Wang Zhi-qiong, deputy director of the provincial health bureau.


Meanwhile, chicken farms in and surrounding the province are also scrambling to take preventive measures to deter the bird flu virus.


And in Hong Kong, all live chicken imports to Hong Kong are required to be vaccinated against the H5N1 virus starting today, in order to minimize the risk of recurrence of bird flu outbreaks.


Tsui Ming-tuen, chairman of Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers Association, said chicken trade in Hong Kong was not affected by the bird flu outbreak.


On December 22, the Chinese mainland announced a ban on the imports of ROK poultry and related goods.


Although the three countries are not far away from China, the panic caused by bird flu seems to be far from Chinese consumers.


According to a source with Shouhang Guoli Company, which has more than 30 chain stores in Beijing, the bird flu outbreak abroad has not affected the sales of poultry in the company's stores.


"The chicken we sell is all domestic. People have been coming and buying chicken, just as usual,'' the source said.


Chinese experts said the outbreak of bird flu in the three countries would not affect the Chinese market.


According to Bo Wen with the China Cuisine Association, 99 percent of restaurants in the country cook domestic chickens and ducks.


The prevention of bird flu has long had importance attached to it by relevant departments in China.


(China Daily January 15, 2004)


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