January 4, 2006


Hong Kong halts poultry imports from Sichuan due to bird flu


Hong Kong suspended poultry imports Wednesday from Sichuan following an outbreak of bird flu in the south-western Chinese province, the government said.


Mainland authorities notified Hong Kong Tuesday night about the outbreak that killed ducks in Sichuan's Dazhu County, a government statement said.


The statement said Hong Kong has "suspended the processing of applications for the importation of poultry and poultry meat from the province with immediate effect."


Much of Hong Kong's food comes from across the border on the mainland, but officials said that figures about how much is imported from Sichuan were not immediately available.


China's agriculture ministry reported Wednesday that about 1,800 birds were found dead on Dec 22 at a farm in Dazhu.


The ministry said that on Jan 3 samples tested at a laboratory confirmed that the birds had died from the H5N1 virus, which has killed millions of birds and more than 71 people in Asia since late 2003.