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China bans imports of birds from countries hit by avian flu
February 21, 2006 10:19 IST
China has banned the import of pet and wild birds and imposed stricter screening of passengers from countries hit by the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu.
In an emergency circular issued Monday, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine called for improved supervision and inspection at ports to prevent the entry of the virus from outside China.
The administration said it has also revoked licenses issued previously for the entry of birds or related products from those countries.
The moves were made as many countries in Asia, Africa and Europe reported outbreaks of the disease.
China has itself reported at least 34 outbreaks of the H5N1 virus in poultry since the beginning of 2005, with most occurring since October. Twelve human cases have been reported, eight of them fatal.
The administration also ordered quarantine departments at ports to screen people from those countries who are feverish or coughing, symptoms of the bird flu disease.
The administration called for more detailed inspection of luggage and parcels from those countries, saying all pet or wild birds or related products will be returned to their countries of origin or destroyed if they are discovered.
Overseas passenger ships, planes and trains via China or staying in China are subject to the circular.
China's Agriculture Minister Du Qinglin Monday asked people to work harder to prevent a possible large-scale outbreak of avian flu in the spring.
Du called for better flu prevention measures, saying many parts of northern China were facing a "serious threat" due to imminent return of migratory birds in spring.