Via the South China Morning Post: Rising number of dangerous H7N9 bird flu cases prompts ban on live chicken sales in Guangdong. Excerpt:
No live poultry will be sold at any wet market across Guangdong from tomorrow until the end of the month, provincial health authorities said.
The ban also applied to supermarkets and restaurants, and officials would supervise the slaughter and delivery of poultry, the Guangzhou Daily reported.
It will be the first year in living memory in Guangdong that live chickens will not be sold during the Lunar New Year period.
The move was instigated after 50 human cases of dangerous H7N9 bird flu were found this year in 15 of Guangdong's 21 main cities.
Meanwhile, 36 per cent of samples collected from wet markets and live poultry wholesale markets across the province up to this week have tested positive for the deadly H7N9 strain.
Guangzhou already began its five-day ban, from last Friday and yesterday, on the sale of live poultry at all wet markets.
But, sales will resume for tomorrow only - Lunar New Year's Eve - in deference to local custom. In the Cantonese culinary tradition, a chicken is indispensable at the banquet.
In Guangdong, locals believe the freshness of ingredients greatly affects the taste and texture of dishes.
Zhang Lihong, a housewife from Haizhu district in Guangzhou, said a relative brought over a capon from a rural area knowing the city's live poultry ban would allow fresh chicken to be sold only on one day.
"There is no banquet without a chicken. It's a must for locals to eat freshly killed chickens during Lunar New Year, both for luck and for taste," Zhang said.
"Thankfully I don't need to rush down to the market at the crack of dawn because our relatives already bought a big bird from the countryside that we'll slaughter Lunar New Year Eve before the family reunion dinner," she said.