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H7N9 virus: Catering, retail industries suffer

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It's lunch time here at Kentucky Fried Chicken. There used to be long lines at the counter, but today, there only a few people. People are afraid to eat chicken because of the H7N9 bird flu virus, which has so far claimed the lives of 7 people in China. But some people aren't too worried.

"I believe KFC has taken measures to avoid its food from being infected by the virus, otherwise it wouldn't be open today."

"Fully cooked chicken is safe to eat. And I trust the food here in KFC."

"KFC is a big brand. I think its food is safe. I am not worried about being infected by the H7N9 here."

KFC Shanghai says that it has been closely monitoring the situation, and has assured that its fried chicken is safe to eat.

But they refused our interview request, and did not reveal the extent to which the outbreak of the virus has affected their daily sales.

But it's clear that business has dropped.

The customers I talked to are aware of H7N9 but they've chosen to eat here because they know fully cooked chicken is safe to eat, and more importantly, they trust the food. It's a similar story at supermarkets in the city.

Employees at this supermarket told me they were not selling live poultry anymore, but only certain cooked or frozen chicken products.

Poultry and eggs represented a high proportion of sales here, and the impact of the flu virus has been devastating.

"I used to buy chicken here a lot, but because of the bird flu, I am now buying online."

"I did not buy any chicken or eggs here because of the flu virus."

The Shanghai Municipal government's decision to close poultry markets and ban poultry imports is not what has hurt the city's catering and retail industries most. Poultry supplies remain stable and no shortages have been felt. Instead, the sudden drop in business revenues can be traced to the public's fear of the spread of the H7N9 virus.

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