Hong Kong will cull 15,000 live chickens at the Cheung Sha Wan market and close the wholesale market for 21 days after some poultry imported from mainland China tested positive for the H7N9 avian influenza virus, Ming Pao Daily reported.
A number of chicken samples that tested positive for bird flu virus were imported from Guangdong’s Huizhou city, the Food and Health Bureau was quoted as saying.
No live chicken will be allowed in from the mainland as authorities undertake comprehensive disinfection in the poultry market over the next three weeks, the bureau said.
It means that poultry imports are once again suspended after such activity resumed four months ago.
Tsui Ming-tuen, chairman of the Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers Association, said although the import suspension will not affect poultry supply for the Chinese New Year in February, chicken prices will no doubt rise.
Meanwhile, the Ta Kwu Ling wholesale market for live chickens is also expected to be closed for four days following an inspection by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
A 68-year-old woman was diagnosed with the bird flu virus and hospitalized last week after returning to Hong Kong from Shenzhen. She is now in a critical condition.
As it was the city’s first case of its kind since early 2014, the Hong Kong government has raised its response level in hospitals to “serious” from “alert”.
Meanwhile, a 35-year-old woman recently tested H7N9 positive in Shenzhen, the first case in that city this winter.
So far there have been 455 H7N9 human cases confirmed in the mainland, of which 112 were in Guangdong province, next only to Zhejiang’s 141 cases.
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