Via the South China Morning Post: Ban on Chinese live poultry extended in for four months. Excerpt:
A ban on live poultry from the mainland, to prevent the entry of the deadly H7N9 flu virus, has been extended for four months but sales of live local chickens resume today.
Local breeders have prepared more chickens for sale than usual to cope with demand after the end of a three-week ban on sales that followed the discovery of the virus in a mainland bird.
Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man said the extension of the ban on mainland chickens would give the government time to seek a site where mainland birds could be segregated from the local birds while virus test results were awaited.
"Since it requires time to consider and set up related facilities, we're unable to implement the arrangements tomorrow when the poultry wholesale market reopens, so we decided to suspend imports," Ko said.
Local farmers and traders, whose chickens were among 20,000 culled at the Cheung Sha Wan wholesale market last month, said they were unfairly penalised because birds from the two sources had been mixed.
Ko said the choice of a segregation site had yet to be made. Government land at Fu Tei Au in Sheung Shui is the most favoured choice so far, but the slope has to be levelled and sewage treatment facilities have to be installed. The land is vacant and has no farms nearby, the Food and Health Bureau said.
University of Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung said the decision would reduce the risk of cross-infection. But he warned the greatest risk for Hongkongers contracting the virus remained visits to live-poultry markets on the mainland.
Usually, about 7,000 live chickens are imported from the mainland each day, while local farms supply about 12,000.