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Shanghai port tightens control on poultry products

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January 30, 2004 16:03 IST

Shanghai port, the largest in China, has tightened examination of poultry products from countries stricken by the deadly bird flu virus.

Inspectors on Wednesday found Vietnamese chicken meat on a Russian ship and a Panamanian ship coming from Philippines and kept the load for further sterilization and quarantine treatment.

As Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Japan were being hit by the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu virus, Shanghai imposed a ban on the entry of poultry products from these regions besides seizing up to 140kg of poultry meat.

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Passengers are prohibited from carrying poultry products from these countries through Shanghai port and those touring Avian flu-stricken regions and showing bird flu symptoms such as fever, coughing and muscle pain are required to report to hospitals and quarantine departments as soon as possible.

So far, no Avian influenza virus has been detected in the luggage of passengers entering China through Shanghai port, Xinhua news agency reported.

Shanghai port has also temporarily stopped handling poultry products from Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in south China and Hunan and Hubei provinces in central China where confirmed and suspected bird flu cases were detected this week.

Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has asked local governments and departments to earnestly implement eight major measures to prevent and control the spread of the bird flu virus in the world's most populated nation. The measures were decided on Thursday at a meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet, presided over by Wen.

They include timely and accurate announcement to the general public of any bird flu case in a particular area and culling all poultry infected by the H5N1 virus.

The meeting suggested that epidemic prevention and control measures must be stepped up, especially at major poultry farms. It was also decided that the government would compensate farmers whose poultry have been culled. The funds will come from both the central and local governments.

The meeting asked local governments to intensify quarantine work on imported poultry or that meant to be exported and maintain a strict check on poultry smuggling.

The cabinet also called for resolute efforts to prevent the deadly virus from spreading to human beings and increased monitoring of people who are in close contact with poultry.

China has culled about 100,000 chickens and ducks following three cases of bird flu.

The bird flu outbreak, in countries like Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan, has resulted in serious economic losses to farmers engaged in rearing chickens, ducks and other birds.
Anil K Joseph in Beijing