June 9, 2016


Hong Kong lifts suspension on live poultry trade


Hong Kong restored live poultry trading on Wednesday afternoon in time for the celebration of the Dragon Boat Festival on Thursday, June 9.


"After a risk assessment, the government decided to allow live poultry to be supplied to the Cheung Sha Wan wholesale market this afternoon and evening," Food and Health Secretary Ko Wing-man said on Wednesday, according to a news report in the South China Morning Post (SCMP). 


Live poultry trade was suspended on June 7 after a fecal sample taken from a Tuen Mun retail market tested positive for H7N9 avian flu virus. As a result of the discovery, 5,600 birds in Cheung Sha Wan, the only poultry wholesale market in Hong Kong, were ordered culled, althoughall the 270 samples collected from Cheung Sha Wan tested negative. Also, fecal samples taken from nine of 29 local poultry farms tested negative to the virus as of June 7.


Despite the lifting of the ban on the sale of live poultry, the stall in the Tuen Mun market where the bird-flu-positive chicken stool was discovered on May 16, as well as a neighbouring stall, will remain closed for 24 days for cleaning. Also, a ban on live poultry imports from mainland China will remain in effect, according to the SCMP news report.


"I welcome the government's decision to resume the live chicken sales," local wholesaler Cheng Chin-keung was quoted as saying by SCMP. "It has also cleared the name of local chickens". 


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