define('DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true); define('DISALLOW_FILE_MODS', true); Hong Kong: Government responds on avian influenza case

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Hong Kong: Government responds on avian influenza case

Hong Kong (aho) – In light of the presence of H5N1 avian influenza virus in environmental samples taken from Po On Road Market in Sham Shui Po during regular surveillance earlier, the Government has adopted special measures promptly to protect public health, a spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said today (June 9).

“We understand the measures introduced would have some impact on the traders and we have received their request for compensation. The Government will consider the traders’ request before taking a decision later,” the spokesman said.

The detection of avian influenza virus in Po On Road Market showed that the existing surveillance system has been working effectively to allow the Government to eliminate the virus, cleanse the markets and trace the source of the virus promptly so that the threat of the virus could be minimised, the spokesman added.

In addition, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Food and Environment Hygiene Department (FEHD) have been actively tracing the source of avian influenza virus found in the Po On Road Market. From the invoices of the three affected stalls, FEHD staff have traced back to the wholesalers, then traced further so far to three local farms and six mainland registered farms which supply chickens to Hong Kong.

According to AFCD, there was no abnormality in the three local farms that supply chickens to the wholesalers involved. The six Mainland registered farms were checked and so far the Mainland inspection and quarantine authorities confirmed that there were no abnormalities. FEHD had sent staff to Mainland registered farms and processing plants with the aim to ascertain that chickens and poultry meat for supply to Hong Kong would not be affected.

There was an allegation that the Government had taken a long time to make public the test results of the environmental samples from the Po On Road Market. The spokesman explained that the treatment of environmental samples was different from dead birds. Under the regular surveillance, virus isolation was used to test environmental samples and this took at least a few days.

The environmental samples were taken on June 3 and the results were announced on June 7. We understand that the time taken by AFCD to test the samples was comparable to the time required by the local tertiary institutions when conducting similar tests.

The spokesman pointed out that all legal live chicken imports and local chickens from registered farms had to undergo random checks before entering the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market. Only those with satisfactory test results were allowed to be sold to retailers.

Emphasising that the Government had all along been sparing no effort in cracking down on illegal import of live poultry and birds, the spokesman said the Government would not tolerate illegal chicken imports which pose threats to public health. The Customs and Excise Department together with the relevant departments would conduct a comprehensive special investigation and step up actions to deter smuggling activities.

MET: 2020-01-24 01:23:54